In the framework of the EU Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth held in Gothenburg on November 17, the European Commission, jointly with the European Parliament and the Council, solemnly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights (otherwise referred to as the Social Pillar), a reference framework for measuring the performance of EU Member States concerning social and employment policies.
Hosted by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, the Social Summit gathered EU Heads of State and government, social partners and other key stakeholders to discuss how to promote fair jobs and growth.
The Social Summit focused on how to make the most of new opportunities and tackle common challenges for the labour markets and welfare models of today and tomorrow. These discussions were structured around three parallel working sessions, addressing the following themes: ‘access to the labour market’, ‘fair employment and working conditions’ and ‘in between jobs: supporting transitions’.
European Disability Forum (EDF) Vice-President, Pat Clarke, participated as part of the Social Platform delegation, underlining both the Social Platform and EDF key messages regarding the Pillar.
EDF recently adopted a resolution to promote employment and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in relation to the Social Pillar. EDF’s resolution calls on Heads of State and governments to demonstrate a strong commitment towards the right to employment, social inclusion and social protection of persons with disabilities and all people in the European Union.
EDF and its members, including Autism-Europe, advocated to bring the messages of the resolution to the attention on Heads of State and governments ahead of and during the Gothenburg Summit and during the Social Platform side event in Gothenburg on 16 November.
In the same light, the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care released seven recommendations in October 2017 to ensure that the Social Pillar is an effective tool to enforce the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
AE’s Recommendations to mainstream disability in the future Pillar of Social Rights
In March 2016, the European Commission published the first outline of the Social Pillar and opened the consultation for inputs from stakeholders. The stated aim of the Social Pillar is to provide a reference framework to screen the employment and social performances of EU Member States and drive reforms, in order to promote decent employment and social protection.
Autism-Europe welcomed the proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights, and the opportunity to feed into the elaboration of this important initiative through a participatory approach. Autism-Europe called on the Social Pillar to firmly support a social and human-rights based approach to disability by mainstreaming the provisions of the UNCRPD in the text, to promote access to education and training and foster equal opportunities to access the labour market. It also emphasized the need for long-term support in the community as well as for enhancing social protection in the context of the financial crisis.