Did you Know?

To enhance the working and living conditions of European citizens the European Union (EU) established a pillar on Social Rights.


EDC News: European Pillar of Social Rights

EU citizens are continually faced with work and social life challenges, such as, employment rates (the 2014 employment rate was 5.8% below the EU target of 75.0%), rate of inequality (in 2017, 72.9% men employed and 52.4% women employed), poverty and social exclusion (in 2015, 23.7% of the EU population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion).

By recognising these work and social life challenges the EU created mechanisms, in form of ‘initiatives,’ to help tackle these challenges. One such initiative is the European Pillar of Social Rights, whose aim is to deliver new and more effective rights for EU citizens. To actualize this aim, the pillar was built upon three major social rights categories, which include 20 fundamental rights and principles:

  • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

  • Fair working conditions

  • Social protection and inclusion

Additionally, the European Commission introduced accompanying ‘initiatives’, such as, work-life balance, access to social protection, Written Statement Directive, Working Time Directive and a social scoreboard generated to monitor trends and social rights performances across the EU.

President Jean Claude Junker on 13 September 2017 affirmed the dedication of the EU towards moving forward with the European Pillar of Social Rights and on 11 November 2017, the Pillar was officially proclaimed. Encouragingly, as a result of the EUs’ dedication towards creating a Social Europe, the Employment and Social Development Quarterly Review February 2018 (overview) reported an increase in employment rate across the EU, attributable to the European Commission’s emphasis on the Pillar of Social Rights.

For more information:

  • Overview and related links on European Pillar of Social Rights, European Commission

  • Proclamation and signing of the European Pillar of Social Rights, European Council

  • Social scoreboard for European Pillar of Social Rights, including interactive charts, Member State comparisons, heat maps and timelines, European Commission

  • Objectives and responses of the public consultation on the European pillar of social rights, European Commission

  • Report on the EU Social Summit for fair jobs and growth and how it relates to the social pillar, (17 November 2017), European Commission

  • Related news on before and after the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, Directorate General of Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

  • Towards fair mobility: setting up a European labour authority, European Commission Factsheet

  • Access to social protection for workers and the self-employed, European Commission Factsheet

  • Related legal documents

    • Commission staff working document (SWD 2017/0201 final) explaining the scope of the rights contained in the European social pillar

    • Commission Recommendation (EU 2017/761) on the European Pillar of Social Rights

    • Interinstitutional Proclamation (2017/C 428/09) and communication (COM 2017/250 final) on the establishment of the European Pillar of Social Rights

  • Statistics

    • Current indicators (EU28 or individual Member States) relating to equal opportunities and access to the labour market; dynamic labour market and fair working conditions; and public support/social protection and inclusion, Eurostat

    • Europe 2020 indicators - poverty and social exclusion, Eurostat Statistics Explained

    • EU citizens at risk of poverty (overall and by gender) between 2005 – 2017, Eurostat

    • Social protection statistics encompasses interventions from public or private bodies intended to relieve households and individuals of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs, Eurostat

    • Employment statistics of EU population aged between 20-64 (2007-2016), including employment rates by sex, age and educational attainment level, persons with more than one job, and the percentage of EU citizens with fixed term contracts, Eurostat Statistics Explained

    • Unemployment statistics (including, recent developments, male and female unemployment, youth unemployment and longer term unemployment trends

    • Disability - barriers to employment, Eurostat Statistics Explained

  • Press Releases

    • Commission adopts proposals for a European Labour Authority and for access to social protection (13 March 2018)

    • Commission presents the European Pillar of Social Rights (26 April 2017)

    • Commission launches a public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights (8 March 2016)

  • Official EU institution publications

    • European pillar of social rights

    • Social mobility in the EU

    • European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) debates with organised civil society in the Member States on the European pillar of social rights

    • An EU that works for workers: Compendium, debate on the future of the EU and for a strong social Union

    • Eurostat regional yearbook (including statistics on number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion)



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