Saturday

16th Dec 2017

EU to proclaim 'pillar' of social rights in Gothenburg

European leaders are meeting in Sweden to discuss social issues as part of an effort to boost jobs and growth.

The half-day summit on Friday (17 November) in Gothenburg will bring together heads of state and government, as well as the EU institutions.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Billed as an event to "strengthen the EU's social dimension", the leaders will discuss, among other things, the future of education and culture.

The European Parliament, the EU Council representing member states, and the European Commission will also proclaim a European Pillar of Social Rights, whose first preamble calls for a Europe with full employment, balanced economic growth, social progress, and a quality environment.

In a statement on Thursday, Sweden's prime minister Stefan Loefven said the event would broadly focus on how to improve people's lives.

How to ease access to the labour market and how to ensure decent work are among the questions that will be asked.

"With the social summit we are making a clear commitment to put the interest of our citizens at the heart of the EU agenda," he said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and co-host of the summit, said it was an opportunity "to seek out common solutions".

The problems

Despite some overall economic improvements through the EU, the task will not be easy.

Europe still has fewer people in the workforce when compared to Canada, Japan, and the United States.

But it is not just about jobs, demographics are also shifting as people over 65 now outnumber those under 14.

There will be 38 million fewer Europeans of working age by 2060 should the trend continue.

A study out by the Bertelsmann Foundation also ranked member state social justice index from 1 to 10.

It looked at poverty prevention, education, labour market access, social cohesion, health, and justice.

Denmark ranked top with 7.39, followed by Sweden (7.31), and Finland (7.14). Greece had the worst score with 3.7, followed by Romania (3.99), and Bulgaria (4.19).

The EU average is 5.85.

The study says labour market recovery is key to social improvements, noting that EU states are broadly better off when compared with the height of the financial crisis.

However, youth unemployment in places like Greece, Italy and Spain remains high.

Over 47 percent of the youth in Greece have no jobs. Spain is marginally better at 44.4 percent, followed by Italy at 37.8 percent.

The risk of poverty also remains for almost one in four EU citizens or 23.4 percent, down only from 24.7 percent in 2012.

The EU commission says the event will also feed into the broader debate on the future of Europe.

Juncker had earlier this year put forward five scenarios on the potential future of the Union ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2019.

Opinion

A social Europe needs better housing

EU social and urban policies should be more linked together and involve local authorities, in order to help people find affordable homes.

Opinion

MEP Ulvskog is wrong about the social pillar

The central idea of the social pillar is to move the design and management of member states’ social systems from national to the European level, writes Swedish centre-right MEP Gunnar Hoekmark.

Opinion

Mind the gap: inequality in our cities

Minimum wages, 'living' wages and a universal basic income are all part of the ongoing mix to find ways to reduce social inequality across the EU.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states