European Pillar of Social Rights and European Semester: tools for delivering Social Europe – a reflection with civil society
On the 2nd of October EUD attended the Seminar on the European Pillar of Social Rights and European Semester as tools for delivering Social Europe – a reflection with civil society. The seminar was organised by the European Centre of Expertise (ECE) in the field of Labour Law, Employment and Labour Market Policies on behalf of the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) of the European Commission.
The European Semester is an annual cycle of policy coordination at European level. It is a tool that coordinates Member States’ economic policies throughout the year. It addresses the economic challenges in different Member States and provides them with a set of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs). During the seminar, experts, European Commission officials and representatives of civil society that work in the fields of employment, education, social affairs and inclusion discussed how civil society organisations can be better involved in the process of European Semester in order to ensure the effective implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Implementation of the European Social Pillar is crucial since, even though the economy of the EU is recovering, social challenges remain, and common efforts are needed to accelerate the decline of poverty and inequality and promote social fairness and inclusion.
Policy guidance and recommendations on the proposed 20 policy principles of the Social Pillar can be pursued through the European Semester process, especially, while drafting Country Reports and Country Specific Recommendations. However, for this the involvement of civil society organizations is crucial. It was highlighted that civil society organisations that operate on the national level must share their views with European Semester officials at national and EU level and must be involved in the process of European Semester. Civil society organisations are one of the main actors who should indicate and contribute to designing necessary reforms.
The aim of the Seminar was to raise awareness of the European Semester process among the national-level civil society stakeholders so the authorities in the EU can receive feedback on country reports and CSRs from civil society. EUD fully supports this and reminds national associations of the deaf that EUD developed a toolkit in International Sign explaining the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Semester, its Country Reports and Country Specific Recommendations and possible means to get involved during the process.