The European Commission has published its work programme for 2017. The programme focuses on 21 initiatives, including the European Pillar of Social Rights, which AGE Platform Europe will seek to influence, in particular the issues of work-life balance and access to social protection. We will provide recommendations based on our members’ feedback.
Looking at the European Commission’s programme, AGE acknowledges the vital need for boosting employment and the important role that new technology and innovation can play in helping address current societal challenges. We deplore however the lack of initiatives to improve social cohesion and tackle the growing levels of poverty and inequalities. With an emerging ‘two-speed’ Europe, creating more jobs and making our society more digital will not deliver on the EU social objectives of reduction of poverty and social exclusion if it is not coupled with strong action to avoid leaving behind the most vulnerable.
We are also concerned that such action on social rights makes no mention of the human right to a decent life, free of poverty and guaranteeing access to essential services. Limiting the EU social rights priorities to data protection and security at a time of rapidly increasing inequalities is for us ignoring an important part of Europe’s pressing social challenges.