As the job market continues to evolve, so should Europe's social policy. Today, many new forms of employment have emerged as a logical consequence of the digital revolution. Whether it is Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon or Alibaba: our traditional views of employment are being challenged. The question is how to adapt the rulebook accordingly.
Guaranteeing the rights of Europe’s workforce
To adequately protect all workers in the EU, the European Commission announced that it will develop a new framework to guarantee the rights of all European employees: the European Pillar of Social Rights. The European Parliament will voice its opinion on the topic during this week’s plenary session in Strasbourg.
All Europeans should have equal access to the job market, be entitled to fair working conditions and enjoy adequate and sustainable social protection – these are fundamental goals of the EU. The European Union already has substantial social legislation - the so-called ‘social acquis’ - but this is fragmented and not well-adapted to today’s ever-changing job market. The new pillar must consolidate and update these basic social rights.
Recent history has shown us that a strong social market economy is key for the future of Europe’s social and economic welfare. During the economic crisis, social inequality between Member States destabilised the Eurozone. If we wish to strengthen the Eurozone and the Internal Market, investments in social policy are necessary.
Adapting the rulebook to a changing working environment
The European Pillar of Social Rights must provide a manual for Member States to react to changes in the job market and help them to be prepared to accommodate new forms of employment. Whether you’re self-employed, an employee, or something in between, the framework outlines fair working conditions for all. This includes traineeships and apprenticeships - two forms of work that today, unfortunately, are still prone to misuse.
The social pillar lays the foundations of a new social Europe - a Europe that protects our social rights, not just today, but for the years to come.