Social Policy and EU Commissionners

Will the Luxembourg Presidency lead by example on EU social policies?

Over the next two days we will be in Luxembourg at our conference on the social dimension of the upcoming EU Presidency. We will be joined by Nicolas Schmit, Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy, and representatives of national and European social NGOs. So what can Luxembourg – one of the six founding members of the EU – bring to the debate on greater social cohesion in Europe?

Firstly, Luxembourg is very often quoted as one of the best performing countries in terms of social welfare. It has the highest minimum wage in the EU (€1,923 per month) as well as a very high minimum income scheme of €1,348.18 for a single person and €2,022.27 for a couple. In addition, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the country performs well in its Better Life Index which assesses the well-being of people living in a country; it ranks above average among OECD countries on income and wealth, civic engagement, jobs and earnings, work-life balance, subjective well-being, health status, environmental quality and housing. It will certainly be interesting for us to discuss with the Minister how the Presidency might look to its national practices to influence debate among the 27 other member states on social issues such as the need for social investment and adequate social protection systems.

I believe that we need a vocal advocate for a strong social dimension to the EU in the European Council, and that Minister Nicholas Schmit could certainly fill this role. As reported to you last week, he believes that for too long “social” has been associated with expenditure rather than investment and that on the contrary, when we invest more in social services, growth is stronger. He shares our belief that the Social Investment Package (SIP) launched by the previous Commission was a great initiative and that it is necessary to link the Commission’s Investment Plan with the SIP.

During the Luxembourg EU Presidency from July-December we at Social Platform will advocate for appropriate legal and financial frameworks to support the development of social economy and social enterprises, and the extremely overdue adoption of the EU Equal Treatment directive to ensure that people cannot be denied access to services such as education and health care based on their religion, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

Luxembourg has developed high social standards and has a strong advocate for ambitious social priorities in the EU in Minister Schmit. We will support the Presidency to ensure that Luxembourg can lead by example in the European Council.

Let’s engage!

Baussand Pierre, Director


What we want all EU Commissioners to agree on 3 June

On 3 June, all 28 members of the European Commission will engage in an orientation debate on social policy. We expect this debate to bring concrete proposals to finally implement the social “triple A” rating promised by its President Jean-Claude Juncker in front of the European Parliament in July 2014. Here are some suggestions:

Firstly, the Europe 2020 strategy’s target to reduce the number of people experiencing poverty or social exclusion by 20 million must be implemented as a top priority, and should not be dropped from the EU agenda. As stated by Commissioner Marianne Thyssen during our General Assembly on 5 May, “employment, education, social inclusion and the fight against poverty are all integral elements of Europe’s growth strategy. They must stay high up on the political agenda”. We want to see a real commitment made to the Europe 2020 poverty reduction target and concrete proposals on how the EU will support and guide member states’ actions. Read more...

Let's engage!

Pierre Baussand, Director