Commission presents first reflections on building a strong social Europe for just transitions

ursula von

Portraits of Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the EC. Co-operators: Photographer: Jennifer Jacquemart European Union, 2019 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

The Commission today presents a Communication on building a strong social Europe for just transitions. It sets out how social policy will help deliver on the challenges and opportunities of today, proposing action at EU level for the months to come, and seeking feedback on further action at all levels in the area of employment and social rights. Already today the Commission launches the first phase consultation with social partners – businesses and trade unions – on the issue of fair minimum wages for workers in the EU.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: “Europe is going through a momentous shift. As we go through the green and digital transformation, as well as an ageing population, the Commission wants to ensure that people remain centre stage and that the economy works for them. We already have an instrument, the European Pillar of Social Rights. Now we want to ensure that the EU and its Member States, as well as stakeholders, are committed to its implementation.

Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: “The working lives of millions of Europeans will change in the coming years. We need to take action to allow the future workforce to flourish. Europe’s innovative and inclusive social market economy must be about people: providing them with quality jobs that pay an adequate wage. No Member State, no region, no person can be left behind. We must continue to strive for the highest of standards in labour markets, so that all Europeans can live their lives with dignity and ambition.

Europe today is a unique place where prosperity, fairness and a sustainable future are equally important goals. In Europe, we have some of the highest standards of living, best working conditions and most effective social protection in the world.That said, Europeans face a number of changes such as the move to a climate-neutral economy, digitalisation and demographic shifts. These changes will present the workforce with new challenges and opportunities. The European Green Deal – our new growth strategy – must ensure that Europe remains the home of the world’s most advanced welfare systems and is a vibrant hub of innovation and competitive entrepreneurship.

Today’s publications build on the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed by EU institutions and leaders in November 2017. The Commission asks all EU countries, regions and partners to present their views on the way forward as well as their plans to deliver on the Pillar’s objectives. This will feed into the preparation of an Action Plan in 2021 that reflects all contributions, and that will be submitted for endorsement at the highest political level

For its part, the Commission today sets out planned initiatives that will already contribute to the implementation of the EU Pillar. Key actions in 2020 include:

  • Fair minimum wages for workers in the EU
  • A European Gender Equality Strategy and binding pay transparency measures
  • An updated Skills Agenda for Europe
  • An updated Youth Guarantee
  • Platform Work Summit
  • Green paper on Ageing
  • Strategy for persons with disabilities
  • Demography Report
  • European Unemployment Re-insurance Scheme

These actions build on work already done by the EU since the Pillar’s proclamation on 2017. But action at EU level alone is not enough. The key to success lies in the hands of national, regional and local authorities, as well as social partners and relevant stakeholders at all levels. All Europeans should have the same opportunities to thrive – we need to preserve, adapt and improve what our parents and grandparents have built.

Consultation on fair minimum wages

The number of people in employment in the EU is at a record high. But many working people still struggle to make ends meet. President von der Leyen has expressed her wish that every worker in our Union has a fair minimum wage that should allow for a decent living wherever they work.

Today the Commission launches a first phase consultation of social partners – businesses and trade unions – on the issue of a fair minimum wage for workers in the EU. The Commission is in listening mode: we want to know whether social partners believe EU action is needed, and if so, if they wish to negotiate it between themselves.

There will not be a one-size-fits-all minimum wage. Any potential proposal will reflect national traditions, whether collective agreements or legal provisions. Some countries already have excellent systems in place. The Commission wishes to ensure all systems are adequate, have sufficient coverage, include thorough consultation of social partners, and have an appropriate update mechanism in place.


Social justice is the foundation of the European social market economy and at the heart of our Union. It underpins the idea that social fairness and prosperity are the cornerstones for building a resilient society with the highest standards of well-being in the world.

The moment is one of change. Climate change and environmental degradation will require us to adapt our economy, our industry, how we travel and work, what we buy and what we eat. It is expected that artificial intelligence and robotics alone will create almost 60 million new jobs worldwide in the next 5 years, while many jobs will change or even disappear. Europe’s demography is changing; today we live longer and healthier lives, thanks to progress in medicine and public health.

These changes, opportunities and challenges affect all countries and all Europeans. It makes sense to face them together and address change upfront. The European Pillar of Social Rights is our answer to these fundamental ambitions. The Pillar expresses 20 principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in 21st century Europe.






the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

COP24: A million lives could be saved by 2050 through climate action, UN health agency reveals

Inclusion, equality a must for ‘long-lasting peace and sustainable development’, UN official tells high-level event in Baku

Madagascar: UN Secretary-General reaffirms support for electoral process

UN commission agrees roadmap on ensuring women’s social protection, mobility, safety, and access to economic opportunities

Germany and France only care about keeping their borrowing cheap

High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

The Working Methods of the von der Leyen Commission: Striving for more at home and in the world

Angola’s President João Lourenço calls for stronger EU-Africa cooperation

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

Commission sets moderate greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030

‘Act now with ambition and urgency’ to tackle the world’s ‘grave climate emergency’, UN chief urges UAE meeting

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

Resilience and efficient doctor-patient relationship nowadays

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Resisting EU budget cuts

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Bicycles for the environment, new leader for the UN General Assembly, UN values, Ebola, Syria and Libya

‘Be the change’ we desperately need, UN deputy chief urges global youth

Parliament seals 2014 EU budget and the spending ceiling until 2020

Fisherwomen of Lake Chad show optimism in face of multiple challenges

LGBTQI+ and medicine, in the Land of the Pure

An expert in the South China Sea issue on an exclusive interview at the European Sting

Financial system risk is elevated and global standards are essential in managing cross-border infrastructure investment

OECD sees rising trade tensions and policy uncertainty further weakening global growth

Governments, businesses ‘walk the talk’ for investment in sustainable development: UN forum

The great challenge of the 21st century is learning to consume less. This is how we can do it

Fairness in the Food Supply Chain: Commission welcomes Member States’ support for greater price transparency

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

The big challenge of leadership and entrepreneurship in Europe

Canada and EU officially sign the trade agreement that could open-up the road to TTIP

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

The importance of the strategy of health of a country working in accordance with the theory

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Electronic Cigarettes: A booster or alternative to Smoking?

Will the Greek economy ever come back to growth?

What does the world really think about the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Investment and Financing under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): EU and Chinese stakeholders share their views at European Business Summit 2018

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

The UK is on a record-breaking run of coal-free power

Here’s how to build energy infrastructures fit for the future

EU budget agreement rejected by the European Parliament

Italy’s populist government appears determined to drive EU economy and markets into recession

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

The “Colombo Declaration” adopted at the World Conference on Youth 2014

General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Why cybersecurity should be standard due diligence for investors

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

How Sierra Leone is using 3D printing to become a model state

Mario Draghi quizzed for last time by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee

There is a way for Eurozone to reach a sustainable growth path

Chart of the day: These are the cities where the World Cup threatens productivity the most

Some endangered languages manage to thrive. Here’s how

‘I thought I’d never get out alive’ – the Muslim director who interviewed neo-Nazis

TTIP update: postponed vote and INTA meeting shuffle cards again

Deep chasm still divides Athens and Brussels; can Eurozone use the nuclear arm of liquidity against Greece?

US migrant children policy reversal, still ‘fails’ thousands of detained youngsters: UN rights experts

Can elections in Italy and Germany derail Eurozone?

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

How to stop plastic pollution at source

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s