Social Europe: CESI welcomes speedy start of the new European Commission

Today the new European Commission presented its first ideas on how to make Europe more socially just and fair. In an explanatory communication entitled ‘A strong social Europe for just transitions’, the European Commission sets out its social timetable and initiatives for the year ahead, all centrally bundled under the umbrella of the European Pillar of Social Rights. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger welcomes the speedy start of the European Commission into the new term.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “I welcome very much the quick action by the new European Commission to swiftly table fresh ideas for more social justice and fairness in the EU and its Member States. Certainly, the sketches of the plans can provide a significant scope for real improvements in the lives of workers and employees. CESI stands ready to assist and advise the European Commission’s work on shaping a future-proof Europe where people like to live and work in dignity, and I look forward to working to this end with Ursula von der Leyen, Valdis Dombrovskis, Nicolas Schmit and the college of Commissioners. ”

Social affairs initiatives announced by the European Commission

• A feedback period will start immediately and be open until the end of October during which public authorities, political actors, social partners and trade unions as well as NGOs and other interested stakeholder can provide the European Commission with expertise and input in relation to an action plan it intends to publish “in early 2021” on how to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and make it a reality for the people.

• A first-phase social partner consultation will start immediately and run until February 25 in order to assess the need and desirable format of a European framework for a binding minimum wage.

• The Commission also pledged to explore ways to promote social dialogue and collective bargaining, since “strong, representative organisations and their timely involvement in policymaking both at national and European level are extremely important.”

• The European Commission aims to underpin its planned European Green Deal with a new Just Transition Mechanism and Fund in order to ensure that the desired economic shift towards climate neutrality will not have adverse social effects for workers and employees.

• Moreover, the European Commission will propose a European Unemployment Benefit Reinsurance Scheme with the objective to protect citizens and workers during external economic shocks.

• In order to arrive at and maintain high standards, the European Commission plans to review its occupational safety and health strategy and address new risks alongside the more traditional ones, such as exposure to dangerous substances and risk of accidents at work.

• The European Commission will issue a proposal for a European Vocational Education and Training (VET) recommendation and, following a currently ongoing ad-hoc European social partner consultation, update its Skills Agenda for Europe in the first quarter of 2020.

• Also in the first quarter of 2020, the European Commission intends to published an industrial strategy, setting out ways on how all citizens, businesses, regions and cities can benefit from current industrial transformations.

• Moreover, in the first quarter of 2020, the Commission will propose a new European Gender Equality Strategy along with, following an ongoing public consultation, binding pay transparency measures to help reduce the gender pay and pension gap, promote women’s access to labour market and increase the number of women in senior positions in businesses and organisations.

• The European Commission will also present a report on the impact of demographic change in the first quarter of 2020, followed by a Green Paper on ageing in the fourth quarter of 2020 to launch a debate on long-term impacts of ageing, notably on care and pensions, and on how to foster active ageing.

• In the second quarter of 2020, an updated Digital Education Action Plan will be published to help boost the digital skills of both young people and adults, and to ensure that every educational organisation is fit for the digital age.

• To step up the fight against youth unemployment, the European Commission will present in the second quarter of 2020 proposals to reinforce the Youth Guarantee.

• A new Digital Services Act, to be presented during the fourth quarter of 2020, will upgrade liability and safety rules for digital platforms, services and products. This will be preceded by, in the third quarter of 2020, a Platform Work Summit hosted by the European Commission to discuss priority issues and possible solutions, including for example employment status, working conditions and access to social protection of platform workers, access to collective representation and bargaining, as well as cross-border aspects of platform work.

• In the third quarter of 2020, the European Commission will establish a new education and training cooperation  framework with the Member States, with a view to further developing the objectives of the European Education Area.

• In 2021, the European Commission plans to launch an action plan for the social economy to enhance social investment and social innovation and boost the potential of social enterprises to create jobs, including for those furthest from the labour market.

• In 2021, the European Commission will present a Child Guarantee to make sure that children have access to the services they need and are supported until they reach adulthood.

• Next year, the European Commission will also present a strengthened strategy for disability, building on the results of the ongoing evaluation of the European Strategy for Disability 2010-2020.

The full communciation along with further accompanying documents is available on the European Commission’s website.