The Portuguese EU Council Presidency has recently announced that it will place the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European social model centre stage; the European Commission will present an action plan to this end in March 2021.

However, the effectiveness of these measures will depend on how they are actually implemented in Member States, given that up to now, the European Pillar of Social Rights has been just a non-binding collection of 20 social principles that was endorsed in November 2017 but has not contributed to an improvement in the social situation in the EU. And that means that the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Social Progress Protocol must finally be incorporated into the EU Treaties so that social protection and workers’ rights take priority over internal market freedoms – something that the ETUC has been demanding for years. To take one example, Principle 6 of the Social Pillar, entitled “Wages”, states that workers “have the right to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”. If this principle were actually put into practice, it would improve the lives of millions of workers. Other social principles include gender equality, the promotion of social dialogue, access to health care and access to essential services such as water, energy and transport.

Read the article by Manuela Kropp, Transform! Europe