European unity and solidarity is at the heart of a EU’s regional distinctive “social market economy’s” model with a social cohesion and a drive for prosperity. Accelerated transition in green and digital growth, supported by a massive European investment and associated reforms, will firmly put the member states on the path towards a fair, sustainable and resilient recovery. A collective, inclusive, timely, and cohesive recovery will strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, resilience, social dimension and its role on the global stage.
The social dimension, social dialogue and the active involvement of social partners have always been at the core of a highly competitive European social market economy. The new EU headline targets on jobs, skills and poverty reduction and the revised Social Scoreboard proposed in the European Action Plan will help to facilitate progress towards implementation of the Social Pillar principles, taking into account different national circumstances and a coordination framework in the context of the European Semester.
The general priority will be to move from protecting to creating jobs and improving job quality, where small and medium-sized enterprises (including social enterprises) play a key role. The implementation of the principles in the European Pillar of Social Rights will be essential to ensure the creation of more and better jobs for all within the framework of an inclusive recovery. In this respect, relevant legislative and administrative/financial regulations should be implemented both at the EU and the member states level.
Education and skills are at the centre of any modern governance and political actions. The green and digital transitions are going to bring enormous opportunities for citizens; however, also with many challenges, which will require more investment in education, vocational training, lifelong learning, up-skilling and re-skilling, to stimulate employment transitions towards sectors where there is a growing demand for labour.
At the same time, changes linked to digitalisation, artificial intelligence, teleworking and the digital-platform economy will require particular attention with a view to reinforcing workers’ rights, social security systems as well as to occupational health and safety.
The member states have to support young people, who have been very negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis, which has profoundly disrupted their participation in the labour market as well as their education and training plans. Young people represent an indispensable source of dynamism, talent and creativity in the states: the national governance and political economy shall have to make a key role for driving forces towards an inclusive green and digital recovery. That would help building the Europe of the future, including by using the full potential of Erasmus + to foster mobility across Europe for all students and apprentices.
The European Social Partners have made a joint proposal for an alternative set of indicators to measure economic, social and environmental progress, supplementing GDP as the main welfare measure for inclusive and sustainable growth.
The adopted Porto declaration this May has, generally, acknowledged that the “beyond GDP” approach to growth has attracted attention in the EU institutions and even “welcomed” proposals by the European social partners for an “alternative set of indicators to measure economic, social and environmental progress, supplementing GDP as welfare measure for inclusive and sustainable growth.”
The “beyond GDP-initiative” is about developing indicators that are as clear and appealing as GDP, but more inclusive of environmental and social aspects of progress. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/beyond_gdp/index_en.html
The declaration, endorsed by the EU leaders in a commitment to a social dimension of European politics as a “fundamental element of the recovery” from the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, acknowledges that the member states’ leaders are “committed to reducing inequalities, combating social exclusion and tackling poverty”.
They also intended to address in the coming years “the risks of exclusion for particularly vulnerable social groups such as the long-term unemployed, the elderly, persons with disabilities and the homeless.”
The declaration’s 13 points can be seen in: