IFSW Europe welcomes the opportunity to respond to the public consultation process on an action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).
Paper prepared by:
John Brennan, Fran McDonnell, Birthe Povlsen, Josien Hofs, Graca Maria Andre, Ian Johnston, Nicolas Paulsen, Ana Radulescu
IFSW Europe views the EPSR as a key vehicle to underpin and help achieve social justice across Europe. IFSW supports the view that it will be crucial that the EPSR Action Plan builds on the positive support measures that have been put in place to reinforce adequate income and access to key public and essential services which should include social services and social work. It is imperative that the value of front line work is fully recognised in this time of pandemic. It is also crucial to ensure that those who are poor do not pay with more austerity.
1. The EPSR should be clearly embedded in the new EU frameworks and mechanisms to respond to the pandemic through the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025.
2. In designing social services and social protection generally, the people who use these services must be at the centre and have their voices heard.
3. The IFSW Europe calls for a much stronger emphasis on building the social dimensions of the EPSR.
4. The EPSR must have adequate investment at both EU and national levels to ensure its proper and meaningful implementation.
5. Social protection is a human right. IFSW states that ‘social protection systems should have a preventative and sustainable effect…’ and they should be instruments for social transformation, democracy and creating social just societies. In implementing the Pillar, there must be adequate social protection measures for all who require support on the basis of inclusivity.
6. It is crucial that the Recovery and Resilience Facility emphasises meaningful social policy priorities alongside economic policies.
7. In implementing the EPSR, IFSW Europe calls for a clear focus in the allocation of resources and for the priority to be on prevention, collective responsibility and respect for diversity.
8. The EPSR must be the vehicle to ensure that the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Just Transition’ do not impinge negatively on those who are vulnerable across Europe. Rather, vulnerable people must benefit from the Deal.
9. The EPSR must be an instrument to help ensure that people are lifted out of the poverty, social exclusion and discrimination that drives them to extremist politicians.
10. IFSW Europe calls for meaningful civil dialogue with the EU and member state institutions to engage with and support the work of civil society organisations in the implementation of the EPSR at national and European levels.