8 March 2021

Action Plan on the European Pillar for Social Rights – What are the key issues?

The European Commission adopted the Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Action Plan specifically refers to the potential of the social economy and the related future action plan.

The Pillar sets out 20 key principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in the 21st century. The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan turns the Principles into concrete actions to benefit citizens. It also proposes headline targets for the EU to reach by 2030.

The new impetus on social rights will use and reinforce the momentum created by the ambitious €1.8 trillion EU long-term budget and NextGenerationEU recovery instrument. This includes support from the Recovery and Resilience Facility to fund coherent packages of reforms and investments that respond to the labour market, skills and social challenges identified in the country-specific recommendations of the European Semester.

Action plan reiterates that delivering the Pillar of Social Rights is a shared responsibility for the EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society:

  • Member States should make full use of the unprecedented EU funds available to support reforms and investments: the EU budget, NextGenerationEU, the European Social Fund Plus, and more.
  • Member States should make the best use of the European Semester to coordinate economic, employment and social reforms and investments, putting people and their wellbeing at the centre.
  • The engagement of national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society is essential to the implementation of the Pillar.
  • Guiding and international EU action in the social area helps affirm the EU’s role as a responsible global leader, promoting decent work and social inclusion worldwide.

Particularly relevant for the philanthropic sector is the Commission´s call on the Member States, social partners and other relevant actors such as regional and local authorities as well as civil society organisations to put the high social standards reflected in the Pillar at the centre of their investments and reforms powering the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.