Commission welcomes Member States’ targets for a more social Europe by 2030

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


At their meeting today, EU employment and social affairs ministers presented their national targets to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan by 2030. The Commission welcomes the Member States’ strong commitment to making Europe fair, inclusive and full of opportunities. With their national commitments, Member States support the joint efforts to reach the three EU headline targets for employment, skills and poverty reduction.

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “At the Porto Social Summit, all EU leaders and partners agreed that it was time to deliver on a strong social Europe. The Commission set three ambitious but realistic targets to keep the employment level high, to embed lifelong learning in our social market economy, and to reduce poverty, including child poverty. The pledges made today by the Member States demonstrate their commitment to meeting these targets. Now the hard work begins.”

Three EU social targets by 2030

The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan sets out the EU’s ambition for a strong social Europe that focuses on jobs, skills and social inclusion, and includes three EU-level social targets to be achieved by 2030:

  1. At least 78% of people aged 20 to 64 should be in employment.
  2. At least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year.
  3. The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million, including at least 5 million children, compared to 2019.

All Member States commit to national targets

In the Action Plan, the Commission invited the European Council to endorse the three EU headline targets and called on the Member States to define their national targets, as a contribution to this common endeavour. All Member States have now submitted proposals for their national targets which they presented at today’s EPSCO Council. The national targets will contribute to the shared ambition of reaching the EU headline targets by 2030 in the areas of employment, skills, and poverty reduction.

Combined, Member States’ commitments set the EU firmly on the path to achieving or even exceeding the EU headline targets:

  • On employment, the national targets taken together exceed the EU headline target.
  • On adult learning, the targets put forward by Member States so far almost reach the EU headline target.
  • On reducing the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, the national targets taken together exceed the EU headline target.
Target2030 EU targetNational aggregated commitments
Employment rate78%78.5%
Adult learning participation60%57.6%
Poverty reduction-15 million-15.6 million [1]

This positive result comes despite the challenging backdrop of Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine and its social and economic consequences, and follows intensive consultation by Member States at various levels since autumn 2021.

Next steps

The Commission will closely monitor their implementation in the context of the 2023 cycle of the European Semester, the EU’s coordination framework for economic and employment policies.

Background

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017 at the Gothenburg Summit. The Pillar sets out 20 key principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in the 21st century. The Pillar is structured around three chapters: (1) Equal opportunities and access to the labour market; (2) Fair working conditions; and (3) Social protection and inclusion.

In the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan these principles were turned into concrete actions to benefit citizens, proposing three social EU-wide targets to be reached by 2030. In the Action Plan, the Commission called on the Member States to define their own national targets, as a contribution to this common endeavour. The Social Summit in Porto, 7-8 May 2021, provided the opportunity to reaffirm Member States’ commitment and ambition. On 7 May 2021, EU partners (EU institutions, social partners and civil society organisations) signed up to the three 2030 headline targets set in the Commission’s European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan in a joint Porto Social Commitment. On 8 May 2021, EU heads of state or government adopted the Porto Declaration, focusing on social Europe. On 25 June 2021, the European Council welcomed the EU headline targets of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, in line with the Porto Declaration.

The national targets presented today are the outcome of an intensive consultation process by Member States, which included internal consultations with key social actors (for instance national parliaments, social partners, non-governmental organisations, local authorities, or academia), bilateral meetings with the Commission, and multilateral meetings within the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee. 

For More Information

Overview: National targets contributing to the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan

Factsheet: European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan

Communication: European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan

Action Plan website

[1] This is not counting contributions from Germany and Denmark, which do not use the AROPE indicator (i.e., the indicator measuring the sum of people who are risk of poverty or social exclusion), and from Malta, which expresses its target in AROPE percentage points. 

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