Two recent surveys once again reveal the importance of social policies for Europeans.
Recently, the European Parliament released the results of the survey “Parlemeter 2020: A Glimpse of Certainty in Uncertain Times” conducted between November and December 2020. The results show that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of social policies for Europeans: 48% of respondents want the fight against poverty and social inequalities to be a priority for the European Parliament. This is the first priority in most EU Member States.
The pandemic has also affected the views of citizens’ regarding the core values the European Parliament should defend, with 41% of respondents wanting the Parliament to defend solidarity between Member States above all other values, compared to 33% one year ago.
Similarly, the survey “Special Eurobarometer 509: Social Issues” released by the European Commission on March 1st, explores people’s attitudes on social issues in the European Union. The survey – also carried out between November and December 2020- shows that 88% of Europeans consider a “Social Europe” to be important to them personally.
Moreover, Europeans think that equal opportunities and access to the labour market (46%), fair working conditions (45%), access to quality health care (41%), the standard of living of people in the EU (41%), and social protection and inclusion (32%) are the most important elements for the EU’s economic and social development.
Likewise, 71% consider a lack of social rights to be a problem, while 62% of the respondents think there would be a more social Europe in 2030. In the same vein, most of the interviewees think that more decisions should be taken at the European level regarding the promotion of decent working conditions (74%) and social security issues (59%).
Finally, with regards to the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), 79% of respondents who have heard about it think that this initiative will strengthen employment and social inclusion in the EU. However, only 29% of the respondents said they had heard, read, or seen something about the EPSR before the survey, which represents a challenge for its proper implementation.
These results show that Europeans acknowledge the crucial relevance that social policies must have at the European level. Thus, Eurodiaconia calls on the European leaders to pick up the gauntlet and match citizen’s with policies’ priorities, strengthening Social Europe for a real social recovery. To know more about Eurodiaconia’s work on this subject, you can find our contribution to the European Commission public consultation on the EPSR’s implementation on our website.