The European Commission released the European Pillar of Social Rights (the Social Pillar) on 26 April 2017. Autism-Europe welcomes the fact that the Social Pillar has taken into consideration the key recommendations from the disability movement to promote the rights to education, to work and employment, the right to live independently and the right to adequate standards of living and social protection. Those rights are also enshrined in the European Union (EU) Treaties and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). We are pleased to see the commitment of the European Commission to promote and protect social rights across the EU.
The first outline of the Social Pillar was published by the European Commission on the 8 March 2016. During the initial consultation phase, Autism-Europe, alongside the European Disability Forum and other Disabled people’s organisations, advocated for the Proposal to take into account disability beyond the issue of “long term care” and “disability benefits”. We emphasized that people with disabilities should be addressed in relation to supporting access to education, training and transition towards employment in order to enjoy their human rights and be included in society. We underlined the fact that this initiative should be linked to the deinstitutionalisation process to support community-based services for people with disabilities.
The European Parliament and the Council, have to discuss and decide whether they will adopt the European Commission’s proposal of the Social Pillar. Once adopted, the EU Member States should follow the recommendations and apply the principles of the Social Pillar in their countries. Autism-Europe will continue to monitor the next phases.
The European Pillar of Social Rights seeks to promote and protect social rights the euro-zone area, as enshrined in the EU Treaties. It aims at providing a framework for better assessing if countries’ social and employment policies are in line with EU recommendations, and for providing guidance on how to improve them.