The history of the European Union clearly shows that the European social model is one of the main successes of European integration.
Quality, accessible and affordable services of general interest are essential ingredients of this European Social Model. They offer constant opportunities to create good jobs, to reinforce the competitiveness of the European economy, to fight poverty and social exclusion.
The EU social policy plays a particular role in shaping the social dimension of Europe. For the next five years, CEEP believes that the European institutions should go beyond the EU social policy and explore two key conditions for Europe to further improve its social dimension.
The first is the need to combine social policy with sound economic policy. Particularly key topics such as investment in physical and social infrastructures and fully exploring the potential of human capital will be essential to reinforce the EU social dimension.
The second is the synergy between EU and national social policy and actions. Social policy must reflect the reality of how the EU functions, fully applying the principle of subsidiarity. This means taking action at the right level, respecting the fact that the EU’s role is to support and complement member states’ actions. Because the EU social model is based on different national models, which must be preserved.
In view of the uncertain political context marked by the rise of populism and increasing international tensions, Europe will need to act in line with its values in a way which safeguards our EU social model. Therefore, the main priorities should be:
- Improving the functioning and performance of labour markets, making them more flexible and secured;
- Improving the productivity of European enterprises, by improving investment in human capital and in infrastructures;
- Reinforcing the access to quality, accessible and affordable services of general interest for the benefit of European citizens;
- Embracing the potential of the future of work including digitalisation, climate change and demographic ageing;
- Tackling skills shortages and mismatches by ensuring the workforce has a relevant skillset;
- Strengthening social dialogue as a tool for adaptation to change and to develop and implement reforms;
We call on the Commission to focus its actions on improving the support to Member States and social partners, to help them learn from each other to progress towards more inclusive labour market policies.
We call on the EU to ensure that the initiatives it takes in this next political cycle respect the different levels of competence, whereby EU social policies and actions support and complement those of Member States. This is critical for Europe to move forward in unity.
CEEP and its members across Europe are committed to continuing to actively shape the EU Social Dimension with the next European Commission, European Parliament and Council.