Ensuring adequate, future-proof social protection for better health and wellbeing
New EuroHealthNet flashcard tool explores potential of European Pillar of Social Rights for public health action.
Poor health, poverty, social exclusion, and unemployment are intrinsically linked. By helping to meet people’s essential needs and by diminishing their exposure to risks, social protection systems support health and wellbeing, in particular of people facing disadvantages. Ensuring adequate social protection over the life-course is essential to improve population health and reduce health inequalities.
Our health and social workforces are shrinking, our societies are ageing, labour markets are changing, all whilst going through a green and technological transition. But how can EU Member States strengthen and maintain the sustainability of our social protection systems when faced with multiple challenges?
Released this week, the European Union’s High-Level Group's final report on the future of social protection and of the welfare state sets out important recommendations.
How can we marry adequate social protection systems with sustainable financing?
The report takes a strong life-course and preventative perspective to social and welfare policies. It puts forward 21 recommendations, which include increasing investments in health, long-term care, and the best start in life for children and families. The report calls for an ambitious political agenda for the next EU legislative period (2024-2029), based on both its recommendations and the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). The Pillar sets out key principles to support fair and well-functioning labour markets, essential services, and social protection systems in the EU.
The recommendations of the High-Level Group go hand in hand with long-standing recommendations made to tackle critical underlying socioeconomic determinants of health and equity. Therefore, public health actors have an important role to play.
“Alongside the recommendations of the High-Level Group, it is crucial to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights as an overarching framework for action. All 20 principles are vital to strengthen the welfare state and contribute to the transition towards an Economy of Wellbeing"
- Pasi Moisio
Member of EU High-Level Group on the future of social protection and the welfare state, and Research Professor at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)
Turning principles into action: A tool for public health professionals and decision-makers
Today, EuroHealthNet launches its European Pillar of Social Rights Flashcard Tool to help public health professionals and decision-makers turn its principles into concrete actions.
Exploring different principles that are key to the future of social protection, each flashcard demonstrates how the principles can contribute to achieving health and wellbeing. The flashcards also provide practice examples of the actions public health authorities and members of the EuroHealthNet Partnership are taking to help implement the principle.
This first set of flashcards addresses the determinants of health and wellbeing across the life course, as also outlined in the EU report. The principles covered are:
- Principle 9 - promoting a healthy work-life balance through suitable leave and flexible working arrangements for all.
- Principle 11 - ensuring childcare and child services, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Principle 18 - ensuring the availability and quality of long-term care in home-based and community-based settings.
"The rising cost-of-living crisis and its detrimental impact on health can be mitigated by policies and investment that prioritise people's resilience as well as enabling and protective environments. From services that set all children up for a strong, healthy and happy start of life, to caring workplaces and communities that promote healthy ageing - each flashcard offers practical examples, illustrating how public health actors can implement EPSR principles to strengthen social protection"
- Dorota Sienkiewicz
Policy Manager at EuroHealthNet