One year after the launch of the European Pillar of Social Rights, where are we now?

In response to the mounting challenges faced by European citizens, on 17 November 2017, the European Commission, Council and Parliament jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), a commitment to improving working conditions and living standards in Europe based on a set of 20 principles and rights. On the occasion of its first anniversary, however, the Commission was rather modest, stating only that it was ‘using all the tools at [its] disposal to make the principles of the Pillar a reality’ and that inorder to keep its promises swift progress had to be made on several important (legislative) proposals (in particular, the establishment of a European Labour Authority, the initiative on work-life balance for parents and carers, the new Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions, and the reform of the rules on social security coordination) before the European elections in May 2019 (European Commission 2018c). The ETUC wished the Pillar a ‘ONEderful birthday’ and acknowledged the important progress that had been made. However, it also reminded the Commission that there is still much to be done, not only on outstanding issues but also regarding fresh initiatives that need to be tabled by the new Commission and by Member States at national level in order to ensure that everyone gets a slice of the birthday cake (ETUC 2018). Even more disappointed voices came from the European Public Service Union, which called it ‘the European Pillar of Broken promises’, mainly because of the Commission’s veto on transposing a framework agreement for more informationand consultation rights in the central government sector into a directive (EPSU 2018).

more information in Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 - Chapter 2 Labour market and social developments