EUROPEAN PILLAR OF SOCIAL RIGHTS (EPSR)

The EPSR (acronym for European Pillar of Social Rights) was born at the end of the Social Summit for Fair Employment and Growth in Gothenburg, held in Sweden on November 17, 2017, and represents, both for its very establishment but even more in the case of the complete achievement of the objectives set, an important step in the ethical-social evolution of the process of fair and solidarity construction of the EU (European Union).

It is structured on 20 cornerstones, divided into three main categories:

  1. four on equal opportunities and access to the labor market (pictured in blue): education, training and lifelong learning, gender equality, equal opportunities, active support for employment;
  2. six on fair working conditions (in yellow): flexible and secure employment, wages, information on working conditions and protection in the event of dismissal, social dialogue and worker involvement, work-life balance, healthy, safe and adequate working environment, and data protection;
  3. ten on social protection and inclusion (in pink): childcare and child support, social protection, unemployment benefits, minimum income, retirement income and pensions, health care, inclusion of people with disabilities, long-term care, housing and assistance for the homeless, and access to essential services.

And which has as its goals:

  1. to employ by 2030 at least 78% of the population between the ages of 20 and 64;
  2. To have 60% of the employed workforce participate in at least one training course per year by 2030;
  3. to reduce poverty and social exclusion by at least 15 million people.

The implementation of an action plan, issued following the creation of the EPSR, has partially mitigated a series of initial perplexities (difficulty in updating the work organization models of each EU member state due to the existence of a gap between the proposed welfare model and the real context, available economic resources, possible infringement procedures against member states that do not follow up), particularly due to the implementation of significant funding included in the ESF+ (European Social Fund Plus) and the Next Generation EU.

Last but not least, a system for monitoring the actions taken, which will take into account the progress and performance of individual member states. The pandemic effect of the last period has not only made it more difficult to achieve the objectives but has also exacerbated the pre-existing disparities between categories of workers, particularly affecting the informal economy, precarious work, seasonal work, self-employment and all the lower levels of professional work, so much so as to achieve the enactment of ad hoc instruments for their very survival.

Also in view of recent events, the latest European councils on the subject of work have shown a consonance of intentions in line with the EPSR, unlike a decade ago when, as recently affirmed by Andrea Orlando, Italy’s Minister of Labour and Social Policies, many considered “welfare as an additional cost and that social protection systems were secondary aspects to be dealt with according to the resources available”. With the introduction of the Next Generation EU, European funds for achieving the objectives of the EPSR are even greater.

The real challenge, therefore, will be to use them from the point of view of achieving not only work as such, but also to ensure that the economic resources available generate labor policies aimed at transforming the existing professional criticalities into quality work, which are consequently inclusive of the social rights guaranteed to workers who are already protected and in line with the dictates of the program.

Despite the convergence that seemingly positively directs its implementation, critical points would seem to remain, considering the different labor organizations of individual member states that invalidate a perfectible harmonization and not least the resistance in the implementation due to the political orientations of individual governments.In addition, the redistribution of resources are decided by individual member states according to specific priorities that do not necessarily coincide with the implementation of the program.

Carlo Caloisi

 

SOURCES AND IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS

1.Gothenburg summit on November 17, 2017: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/european-council/2017/11/17/

  1. The European Pillar of Social Rights in 20 principles: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/economy-works-people/jobs-growth-and-investment/european-pillar-social-rights/european-pillar-social-rights-20-principles_en
  2. European Pillar of Social Rights – booklet: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/social-summit-european-pillar-social-rights-booklet_it.pdf
  3. COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS – The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52021DC0102&from=IT
  4. The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/economy-works-people/jobs-growth-and-investment/european-pillar-social-rights/european-pillar-social-rights-action-plan_en
  5. The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+): https://ec.europa.eu/european-social-fund-plus/en
  6. Next Generation EU: https://europa.eu/next-generation-eu/index_en
  7. Eurostat – European pillars of social rights: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/european-pillar-of-social-rights/overview
  8. Amandine Crespy (16 May 2017) European Pillar Of Social Rights Mirrors EU, Good Intentions and contradictions: https://socialeurope.eu/european-pillar-social-rights-mirror-eu-good-intentions-contradictions
  9. Conference “The Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights” – Rome, 24 June 2021:https://www.radioradicale.it/scheda/640783/il-piano-dazione-del-pilastro-europeo-dei-diritti-sociali
  10. Potential and limits of the European Pillar of Social Rights: https://welforum.it/il-punto/lagenda-sociale-nelle-elezioni-europee/potenzialita-limiti-del-pilastro-europeo-dei-diritti-sociali/
  11. The European Pillar of Social Rights: https://lospiegone.com/2019/05/21/il-pilastro-europeo-dei-diritti-sociali/