How can the European Pillar of Social Rights protect and promote children’s rights?

Eurochild welcomes the European Pillar of Social Rights, a new initiative aimed to act as a framework to screen employment and social performance in the EU. Here is what the children’s rights sector expects.

Copyright: European Union

Eurochild welcomes the European Pillar of Social Rights, a new initiative aimed to act as a framework to screen employment and social performance in the EU. It acknowledges the positive impacts that sound social policies and social protection systems can have on making our society and economy more resilient.

The preliminary outline and content of the Pillar is very comprehensive and the three main themes which encompass 20 different policy domains, including childcare, cover a broad spectrum of issues. These 20 policy domains can be seen as an effective way to create a new set of benchmarks and indicators for measuring progress within different areas of social policy. 

How can the European Pillar of Social Rights effectively protect and promote children’s rights? Here is what the children’s rights sector expects: 

Put children first

The Pillar should be underpinned by a child-rights approach. Investing in Europe needs to start by investing in children, families and communities. This is crucial to achieve social cohesion and inclusion, as well as economic growth and prosperity - now and in the longer term. The new initiative should build on and reinforce existing principles that have been established in the Recommendation ‘Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage’. We hope that with this new initiative the Commission will not lose sight of prioritizing the implementation of the Recommendation on Investing in Children and its holistic approach. 

The Social Pillar must have ‘teeth’ to ensure all EU action contributes to social objectives

The Social Pillar should be a reference for all EU policy, legislative and funding activities. It remains uncertain whether there will be concrete efforts and instruments to prevent trade, fiscal and finance policies from undermining social efforts and overshadow social goals and priorities. 

Ensure that the Pillar reinforces implementation of existing EU social policy instruments

The social rights tool should strengthen the social dimension of the existing European Semester process and help achieve the EU 2020 targets on education, employment and poverty. It should reinforce efforts to implement the Social Investment Package of February 2013 and in particular the Recommendation on Investing in Children. (Read Eurochild report on European Semester 2015)

Develop inclusive and comprehensive policy responses

The Pillar of Social Rights must support efforts of EU Member States to improve reception conditions and services for integration of migrants and refugees, including unaccompanied children and those travelling with their families. 

Foster civil dialogue and participatory democracy

The Pillar should put a stronger emphasis on citizen and civil society engagement and empowerment. Eurochild invites the European Commission to continue strengthening the role of civil dialogue and participatory democracy in policy processes and governance, and fostering a meaningful engagement of the civil society, especially children and young people themselves.

Eurochild network will present these messages at the Annual Conference on Inclusive Growth organised by the European Commission in Brussels on 21 March 2016. #ACIG2016

Click here to watch the video ''European Pillar of Social Rights – Why is it important to you and your organisation? Interview with Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild''