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.

Further progressive minimum social standards in the EU with high levels of protection and non-regression clauses are 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.

Furthermore, AK EUROPA, together with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), Social Platform and Solidar, has commissioned a study to the European Policy Centre (EPC) to take stock of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights to date and provide impetus for the upcoming EU legislative period. The study identifies six fields of action for the coming EU legislative period: an EU initiative for better working conditions, measures for a just green transition, the promotion of equal opportunities, a social protection package, sufficient funding and improved political decision-making processes.



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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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