event_note Press Release
The Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the EU hosted an event on October 23 to discuss the achievements and future challenges of the European Pillar of Social Rights, a mechanism with 20 key principles and rights aimed at building a fairer Europe in the fields of labor markets and welfare systems.
The event, titled "The Achievements and Future Challenges of the European Pillar of Social Rights: Collaborating with Institutions and Civil Society Towards a Fairer and More Inclusive EU," featured participants from various levels. Specifically, it included the participation of Lluís Torrens, Secretary of Social Affairs and Families; Denis Genton, Director of the Strategy of the European Pillar of Social Rights at the European Commission; Robbie Stakelum, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Social Platform; and Michaela Lednova, Head of Social Affairs at Eurocities.
Torrens explained the work that the Government of Catalonia is carrying out at various levels to address social rights. He highlighted initiatives related to the guaranteed income for citizens, adopted in the country in 2017, as well as the government's agreement to establish a strategy against child poverty, "a plan that must include tangible and clear measures to address this issue," the secretary affirmed. Regarding the challenges facing the Pillar, Lluís Torrens pointed out the issue of fiscal deficits in the autonomous communities, stating, "Social investment cannot progress with our hands tied by the financial situation of the member states. The present and future of our countries are at stake."
Denis Genton also highlighted the main obstacles of the community strategy for social rights. He emphasized that, although constant monitoring is being carried out by the European Commission, "what really matters is the adoption and transposition" of initiatives by the member states. He also pointed out the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the labor market, the adaptation to the green transition, and the housing problem as key challenges for the future of the Pillar.
On the other hand, representatives of civil society assessed the European Pillar of Social Rights and its functioning in addressing global challenges. Robbie Stakelum emphasized the importance of the Pillar as a good framework for addressing social rights comprehensively. However, he stressed the need for collaboration at all levels to ensure a social perspective in every policy because "all initiatives have a direct impact on the Pillar's goals." Additionally, Michaela Lednova echoed Torrens' concerns about funding and deficit limits. In this regard, she pointed out that despite the strong commitment of cities as active participants in the Pillar, "national governments assign responsibilities to cities based on administrative changes, but they are not adequately funded. There is a significant deficit, and this is very noticeable at the local level."
The event, moderated by Anna Gumbau, a journalist and event moderator, was also attended by Ignasi Centelles, the Representative of the Government of Catalonia to the European Union.