EuroHealthNet has conditionally welcomed the European Commission (EC) initiative to establish a “European Pillar of Social Rights”. Announcing its overall position after a substantial consultation with members and partners in EU Member States, EuroHealthNet sees the Pillar as an opportunity to clarify unclear objectives and provisions in the EU Treaties and body of laws concerning equality, wellbeing and social determinants of health. EuroHeathNet has made concrete proposals for the implementation of the initiative.
EuroHealthNet warns against risks of increasing inequalities if Eurozone states are treated differently from others, but insists “There can be no EU without a social EU”. Its members feel that many health and social responsibilities should remain with States and sub-national authorities, but there is scope for improvements in existing legislation, plus some important new initiatives.
In particular, EuroHealthNet calls for numerous actions and investment directly related to social and economic factors causing ill-health, plus several innovative ideas for content of the potential Pillar:
- An EC Vice President with responsibility to ensure implementation of social measures;
- A new Directive on Social Sustainability using models in development in Sweden and elsewhere;
- Improved measures to support States address health and social issues in the EU Semester;
- Alignment of goals and targets with the global 2030 Sustainable Development commitments.
EuroHealthNet has published its detailed Position online at www.eurohealthnet.eu and is urging other health bodies to join in contributing evidence based responses to the questions posed by the EC in its Public Consultation, open until 31st December 2016.
Policy Director Clive Needle said “We absolutely expect the EC to honour the commitment given that the existing Acquis Communautaire will not be weakened by this initiative. We are contributing positively on that basis to help improve the legislation and programmes that we already have, and then address gaps and bottlenecks”.
Managing Director Caroline Costongs said “The EU can do much to support and enhance the rights of all its citizens at work and in communities, and also play a leading role towards global social sustainability, protecting health and promoting wellbeing, as its Treaty objectives demand.”
The full response can be downloaded at eurohealthnet.eu/publications/consultations-responses. The EuroHealthNet Policy Precis on the social pillar can be found at eurohealthnet.eu/publications/policy-precis.
Alexandra Latham, Communication Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org