Since we are trying to understand the European Union objective of a highly competitive market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, it feels natural to take a look at the thinking behind a European pillar of social rights.
Together with the communication launching the consultation on a European pillar of social rights COM(2016) 127 final and the first preliminary outline of the pillar COM(2016) 127 final ANNEX 1, the European Commission published a Commission staff working document (SWD):
Key economic, employment and social trends behind a European Pillar of Social Rights; Strasbourg, 8.3.2016 SWD(2016) 51 final (37 pages; available only in English)
The pillar is directed at the euro area, but open to participation by other member states. Some of the reasons are presented like this (page 4):
As highlighted in the Five Presidents' Report on Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union, in a single currency area, there is a need to build up the shock absorption capacity and labour market adjustment mechanisms of Member States. Enhancing convergence towards robust labour market institutions and social infrastructure can facilitate resilience, social cohesion and macroeconomic adjustment within the euro area and beyond.
The table of contents offers a quick view of the trends and challenges discussed in the different chapters of the working document:
- Welfare in Europe: an overview
- Long-term trends, societal transformations and changing needs
- The impact of the crisis: a halt to convergence
- The new world of work, jobs and skills
- Specific challenges and requirements of the euro area