At the close of the public consultation on the “European Pillar of Social Rights” (EPSR), the European Commission hosted a large-scale conference. It was the aim of the conference to gather all relevant stakeholders to assess progress and to define the future orientation of the EPSR.
Apart from Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a number of EU Commissioners, with the Commissioner of Employment, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen leading the way, and the new President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani as well as Ministers of the individual Member States were also present.
Social minister Alois Stöger, who gave a lecture at a workshop on the subject of “Fair Working Conditions for All“ had travelled from Austria. Stöger talked about the efforts of his Ministry to secure crowd workers in respect of Labour and Employment Law.
Apart from that, the social partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope) as well as the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) were allocated time to represent their positions. Overall, the role and the significance of the social partners in connection with “Europe's Social Dimension” were frequently referred to. And this crucial role became quite clear during the conference: All best-practice examples came from countries with a deeply rooted social partner/tripartite tradition. As an example, one could refer to the Danish Initiative, which was presented in the workshop “Equal Access to Labour Markets and Skills Development”, on the qualification/continuous training of low-skilled workers in the food sector, which is based on the cooperation of employer and employee representations at national, regional and company level.
The Chamber of Labour (AK) and the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) were particularly pleased with the result of the public consultation on the EPSR: according to reports, more than 16,500 people took part in the public consultation, which underlines the success of the AK, ÖGB and ETUC campaign “social rights first!”, in which over 15,500 participated. In other words: over 90 % of the submitted consultations had been initiated by this campaign.
What will happen next? The Commission is supposed to present a consolidated version of the EPSR until spring. One can only hope that both the clearly committed Report of the European Parliament and the result of the public consultation have left their mark, in particular in respect of the legal framework. According to the words of the Commission, the EPSR shall, “once adopted, become a reference framework to screen employment and social performance of participating Member States and to drive reforms at national level. More specifically, it should also serve as a compass for renewed convergence within the euro area.”