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The European social pillar still in limbo

Oct 17, 2018 | News

(17 October 2018) – Member States seem in little hurry to implement the European Social Pillar of Social Rights. The Austrian Presidency has even just cancelled a ministerial meeting on this subject for no apparent reason.

© European Commission

EU leaders launched the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg in November 2017, as part of the Juncker Commission’s plan to show that the EU is more than just a watchdog over national fiscal policies.

So the decision by the Austrian EU Council presidency to cancel the planned meeting of the Employment, Social Policy Council (EPSCO) on 11 October was seen by many as a setback. The meeting was due to discuss progress on the European Pillar of Social Rights, and in particular the establishment of a European Labour Authority.

Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg’s employment minister, said “the Austrian presidency sends a very wrong message with this cancellation”. The Austrian EU presidency has given no reason for the cancellation.

The impasse leaves the Commission stuck in a bind. It does not have the power to impose a social policy model on member states, and Juncker himself admitted in his 2017 State of the Union speech that “national social systems will still remain diverse and separate for a long time.” (EurActiv)

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