How useful is an agreement if no concrete steps or follow-up are foreseen to make it become a reality? The European Pillar of Social Rights (Social Pillar, for short) is an initiative of the European Union for a framework of social rights for all citizens in EU member states. It has the potential to act as a driver for social change in Europe – if it is complemented by a clear implementation plan for each of its principles and a rigorous and transparent monitoring system.
These are two of the main points the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG) has raised in its recommendations regarding the Social Pillar and its integration into the European Semester.
Further steps should be:
- Meaningfully involve civil society organisations throughout the implementation of the Social Pillar
- Create as many synergies as possible among policies and funding
- Propose packages with legislative and non-legislative initiatives linked to each right mentioned in the Social Pillar
- Further invest in the Social Pillar when designing the post-2020 EU budget and Cohesion Policy
The Expert Group also pointed out that a reform of the process of implementation of the European Semester (a framework for the coordination of economic policies across the European Union) is needed. It should apply the Social Scoreboard in the same way as it is currently used for the Social Pillar.
Over one million adults and children, including adults and children with intellectual disabilities, are still living in long-stay residential institutions across Europe. A horizontal and efficient implementation of the Social Pillar’s principles, especially those on disability, childcare, long-term care, healthcare and housing, would give the opportunity to effectively protect social rights, improve the quality of lives and promote the right to family and independent living.
The adequate implementation of the Social Pillar would also be in line and provide a tool for the enforcement on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) which has been ratified by the European Union (EU) and, to date, 27 Member States.
Also read Inclusion Europe’s statement on the European Pillar of Social Rights