On 26 April the EU Commission presented a series of initiatives aimed at giving more impetus to the social dimension of the European Project, giving Europe back its triple A social rating, one of its initial 2014 goals.
As an essential element of a comprehensive reflection over the future of Europe, the EU Commission started with a major reflection on the future of the European Social Project. Faced with both Brexit and anti-EU election campaigns, the European Executive is asking questions over the appropriate degree of EU integration. It presents three different scenarios. The first being an EU social dimension that limits itself to free movement would result in each country adopting its own social and employment rules. The third being a bolstered 27-EU States social dimension, would allow greater harmonization in certain areas and would facilitate the combat against social dumping. The second, halfway between scenarios one and three, is what the EU Commission proposes as a multi-speed Europe. EU Member states (a condition being that a minimum of 9 EU Member states is involved) could launch strengthened cooperation initiatives in areas of mutual interest, for instance in recognizing different third level diploma qualifications. These different routes will be submitted to the heads of the Member States and government during the EU Summit meeting on 17 November.
However before making any firm decisions on these issues, the EU Commission suggested moving quickly into action by establishing a ‘European Pillar of Social Rights‘, which would initially concern just the Eurozone members and revolve around 20 principles addressing the three themes of equal opportunities and access to the labor market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. It looks to
serve as a ‘compass’, (i.e. comprising action principles) for the EU Institutions and Member States.