fondiOn 8 March 2016, the European Commission launched its new key initiative in the social field: the European Pillar of Social Rights. Now that Europe2020 seems to be fading more and more into the background, the Pillar represents one of civil society’s best hopes of restoring the balance between social and economic goals on the EU agenda. However, at the same time, a lot remains unclear about the Pillar. What will be its legal nature? How many Member States will actually accept and implement it? What will its relation be to the European Semester? And what will it actually say?

The Commission has published a preliminary outline of the Pillar, outlining 20 key principles or ‘rights’ which should be promoted and upheld, including adequate minimum income, adequate access to essential services, and adequate long-term care. Citizens, civil society organisations and trade unions will have until the end of the year to respond to the outline and to share their perspective on what a Pillar of Social Rights should look like.

Eurodiaconia will respond to the consultation, presenting a unified diaconal perspective on the essential elements of a ‘social pillar’ to the European Commission. A draft response will be circulated among member for input in June. An event will be organised in the European Parliament in the second half of the year. However, Eurodiaconia also warmly encourages its members to respond to the consultation separately, as individual organisations.

To provide you with more information about the Pillar (on the basis of what Eurodiaconia has been able to gather so far) and about concrete ways to get involved, Eurodiaconia has prepared two briefings on the topic:

If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate Stephan at or Giacomo at

Find here the Pillar Briefing 1 (‘Why do we need a Pillar of Social Rights?’)

Find here the Pillar briefing 2 (‘What do we know about the contents of the Pillar?’)