16th February, 2017| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



The European Pillar of Social Rights should bring about meaningful social change



Eurodiaconia calls on the European Commission to ensure effective social justice through the forthcoming European Pillar of Social Rights

Since 2007, the United Nations International Day of Social Justice has been celebrated annually on 20th February around the world. Eurodiaconia would like to mark this 10th anniversary to highlight the importance of the European Pillar of Social Rights as an opportunity to promote social justice and upward social convergence across Europe.

The European Pillar of Social Rights is intended as a key response to the aftermath of the financial crisis and as an update of the European social model in light of a changing labour market. It aims at the reform of social protection systems across Europe in order to reduce national differences by allowing all national welfare systems to reach similarly high standards across Europe.

Eurodiaconia and our members are key partners in fighting poverty and reducing inequalities. Through our experience of working daily with people facing poverty and other types of social risk, we would like to call on the European Commission to ensure that the European Pillar of Social Rights delivers on its commitment to upward social convergence. We emphasise the need for the Pillar to work as a catalyst for positive and transformational social change by outlining clear targets and indicators and by providing a concrete framework for action at EU and Member State level, to prevent the Pillar being confined to the realm of words.

To counter any potential lack of impact, Eurodiaconia reiterates its recommendations to the European Commission for clear targets and indicators to monitor the Pillar’s implementation, and emphasises the need to establish clear links between the Pillar, the European Semester and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A further priority would see enhanced fiscal space for social investment among member states. Finally, Eurodiaconia emphasises the importance of co-ownership of the Pillar through structural dialogue with civil society and rights holders, to ensure that the Social Pillar addresses existing needs effectively.

Heather Roy, Secretary General of Eurodiaconia, states: ‘’The European Pillar of Social Rights represents a key opportunity to reconnect with the needs of citizens, to achieve tangible progress in the fight against poverty and social exclusion and work towards social justice. In the final proposal due this Spring, we need to see an ambitious commitment from the European Commission to clear targets and concrete implementation tools otherwise the Pillar will not have much added value. We want to see the Pillar realise its potential of fostering upward social convergence.‘’

Eurodiaconia is a dynamic, Europe-wide community of social and health care organisations founded in the Christian faith and working in the tradition of diaconia. It represents more than 40 members working in over 30 countries, including churches, not-for-profit welfare organisations and NGOs. Together, our members provide services to hundreds of thousands of persons in need across Europe.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Antonio La Mantia

Communications Officer