The EU has a large number of general social objectives and principles. However, in practice, market-liberal orientations and restrictive fiscal rules have often taken a higher priority. The 2024 elections to the European Parliament represent an important window of opportunity for the debate on strengthening the social orientation of the EU.

Establishing further progressive minimum social standards in the EU with high levels of protection and non-regression clauses is needed as part of a new social action programme. Well-designed minimum social standards can help to curb social dumping and races to the bottom in social standards and to achieve EU-wide objectives for social progress.

This AK EUROPA policy brief highlights a number of areas in which new minimum social standards should be established. The thematic fields in which steps need to be taken quickly range from effective minimum standards in relation to national unemployment insurance and minimum income schemes to combating wage and social dumping and establishing EU labour rights for workers in the healthcare professions and in relation to artificial intelligence.



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Alice Wagner (Brussels office)

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Nikolai Soukup

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Sarah Bruckner (Brussels office)

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