The day after another Commission’s college meeting Marianne Thyssen, DG Employment had invited social NGOs to discuss on “Forging common action to achieve the Social Triple A for the EU”.
For Commissioner Thyssen civil dialogue is a mutual engagement at a time when there is a real momentum for Social Europe at EU-level and in Member States. Economic governance needs a social pillar. Although the Commission has taken some initiatives, inequality is raising as well as the divergences between and within Member States.
For Commissioner Thyssen Europe2020 shall be the social pillar and represent the social agenda of the EU which will only be credible when really delivering. As the EU cannot translate the strategy into action the regular civil dialogue with the social NGO networks is needed. The challenge is on upward social convergence and social dimension of all EU-policies. She pledged for common labour and social standards, for modernising legislation and setting ambitious and realistic employment and social benchmarks. Flexibility can be an issue if security for the worker is guaranteed. Minimum income shall be an option to get out of poverty, in particular for those who cannot enjoy decent work. Recognition of skills and competences is needed, taking into account the whole life cycle, mobility and the need for integrating migrants and refugees. This could also contribute to unleash the job potential of the health, care and social economy sector. Last, but not least social considerations have in her understanding to be integrated into all policies through social impact assessments as part of the better regulation package.
These messages were very much welcomed by the audience and as SOLIDAR SG stated “civil dialogue on the social issues is not in competition with the social dialogue of social partners.” Nevertheless a floor of social rights shall be ambitious, allowing upward convergence and not be a minimum socle only for the weakest and most vulnerable. SOLIDAR welcomes the approach and will continue to support Europe2020 if it remains smart, sustainable and inclusive representing the social agenda. More work will be needed on benchmarking and the concrete action and design of the social pillar in (economic) governance!