Two years after the Porto Social Summit, the Porto Social Forum took stock of the progress made so far on the European Pillar of Social Rights (ESSR) on 26 and 27 May 2023. The main themes of the Forum were the European Year of Skills in the context of the digital and green transformation and the continuation of the EU Social Agenda. In particular, the need to provide adequate education and training and to implement the EU Child Guarantee more quickly and effectively was highlighted.
This study by Lobby Control and AK Vienna examines the role and impact of the European Commission’s Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB) on the EU legislative process. The RSB was created in 2015 as an oversight body to assess the quality of draft impact assessments, fitness checks, and major evaluations within the Commission. While some studies have argued that the RSB contributes to better regulation, recent examples in EU decision-making (e.g., the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive) cast doubts over its role and potential biases towards large industries.
The European Semester Spring Package was presented on 25 May 2023, which, according to the European Commission, shall secure the EU's long-term prosperity, competitiveness, equity and resilience. There are good approaches, such as the promotion of women and disadvantaged groups in the labour market. However, a fair transition in which no one is left behind is still far from becoming a reality.
Environmental, social and economic challenges are closely interlinked and can no longer be discussed in isolation. On the initiative of 20 MEPs from five political groups, and with the support of more than 60 partner organisations, the Beyond Growth Conference took place from 15 to 17 May 2023 in the EU Parliament in Brussels. In 20 focus panels and 7 plenary discussions, the conventional understanding of growth and economic success was to be questioned and social goals were to be redefined together with approximately 4000 participants.
On 26 April, the EU Commission presented its proposal for a "Reform for Sustainable Economic Governance". It attempts a balancing act between common rules and the individual responsibility of the Member States, as well as between debt reduction and the promotion of necessary investments. Whether this will succeed is questionable: on the one hand, the proposal itself carries a risk of insufficient flexibility, while on the other hand, there is a threat of further tightening in the Council.
AK EUROPA warmly congratulates the new President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Oliver Röpke. In the course of his inauguration, important European policy goals were addressed: strengthening democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law. In particular, he called for a social EU in which environmental goals are also sufficiently taken into account.
The Benchmarking Working Europe Report 2023 highlights social vulnerabilities and challenges in Europe. The EU is currently trying to manage four transitions simultaneously, with conflicting goals and limited vision. However, a transformative and ambitious social transition is needed to break the current crisis cycle. Researchers from the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and representatives from the European Commission and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) discussed this on the occasion of the publication of the report.
Upon the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (ESSR), a report on the future of social protection and the welfare state was prepared by a high-level expert group on behalf of EU Social Affairs Commissioner Nicolas Schmit. The report makes 21 concrete recommendations for future initiatives on how the EU can respond in an inclusive and sustainable way to longer-term trends such as demographic change, globalisation, new forms of work and the digital and green transition.
In view of the green transition, advancing digitalisation and the emergence of new forms of employment, the project aims at adapting cooperation with the social partners to these new realities.
From 1 January to 30 June 2023, Sweden will take over the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the third time. With the words "Europe should become greener, safer and freer", Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of the centre-right government, points out that he wants to continue the work of the previous French and Czech presidencies.