What is the European Pillar of Social Rights, and what does it mean for health?

Social Pilllar Factsheet

In an effort to build a more inclusive union, the European Commission has published a proposal for the ‘European Pillar of Social Rights’. Once approved, this set of principles, initiatives, recommendations, and monitoring measures will affect European labour markets and welfare systems; it aims to make them fairer and function better, and to make economies more resilient.

Employment and social protection policies affect health and the social determinants of health, which can reduce health inequalities. Today, as Member States exchange views on the proposal, we examine what the European Pillar of Social Rights is and consider what impact it can have on health and health inequalities. View the factsheet.

The 20 principles set out in the recent EC recommendation cover:

  • Health care
  • Education, training, and Life-long learning
  • Access to Social Protection
  • Work-life balance
  • Childcare and support for children

At EuroHealthNet, we believe that, with proper implementation, the pillar can promote social sustainability and uphold our values of social justice, fairness, and solidarity. It will help connect various initiatives and proposals that are crucial for social equity, health and wellbeing. We note that:

  • The right to timely access to affordable, preventive and curative health care is essential to break the cycle of disadvantage. Proposals for greater cooperation to address common challenges should be applied to health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Accessible early years education, care, and services have an important role in ensuring good health across the life course. In this regard, measures to support work-life balance are vitally important.
  • Work is good for physical and mental health. Adequate social protection must be available for all workers, regardless of duration or type of employment.

View our factsheet on the Commission Proposals
View our statement on the Social Pillar. 
View our Policy Précis summarising the Social Pillar