The Basque Government proposes that the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights incorporate the regional administrations “closest to citizens”
- In order to advance in the areas of social matters and equality
- Lakua highlights 13 social initiatives for community management
- Minister Beatriz Artolazabal: "The effective application of the European Pillar of Social Rights will be possible with sufficient financial resources and with structural reforms"
Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2020 11 28
The Basque Government has proposed to the European Commission that the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights, to be activated next year, incorporate the regional administrations “closest to citizens” in order to advance in the areas of social matters and equality. “Furthermore, in relation to demographic change and aging, we consider that action must be taken throughout the Union to foster active and healthy aging and to promote empowerment of the elderly” indicated the Minister Beatriz Artolazabal.
The objective of the European Pillar of Social Rights is to guarantee citizens a series of new and more effective social rights by means of a series of 20 principles and rights ranging from a fair wage, the right to medical attention, lifelong learning, improved work-life balance and gender equality to a minimum income.
The Basque Government, in response to the European Commission call for debate with all EU authorities, seeking their contribution to implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and to preparation of the corresponding Action Plan to be presented in early 2021, has explained its main points of view and contributions to the necessary policy actions and legal initiatives, also voicing its commitment towards their implementation.
In line with the Commission communication “A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions” and the Council’s conclusions on “Demographic challenges: the way ahead” and “Long- term care”, the Basque Government “wants European social policy to respond to today’s challenges and opportunities and to produce an effective application of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Even more so now when the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is demonstrating the need to change a number of classic approaches to long-term care and attention to the elderly and the dependent”.
Regions and Sub-State Governments
In the thirteen contributions that the Basque Government proposes for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights through the future Action Plan, the Basque Executive emphasizes that “the initiative must be carried out by all administrations -especially regional ones, closer to citizens -, striving to advance in the social, equality and employment sphere”. The Basque Government proposes “to advance the work that is carried out at the regional level in areas such as labour activation, the generation of opportunities, support for the social economy and the entrepreneurial spirit. Equitable opportunities must be achieved for women and men and for all social groups”.
With respect to education and training, the Basque Government welcomes the presentation by the European Commission of the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social equality and resilience, as well as the Pact for Skills.
With respect to gender equality, within the new European Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2014, the Basque Government asks Brussels for “binding pay transparency measures and the development of a European regulation guaranteeing the presence of female talent in equal conditions in company decision-making organs. It is also necessary to promote awareness of violence for reasons of gender”.
Regarding equal opportunities, the proposal formulated from Lakua for the EU Action Plan considers it necessary to “eradicate all types of discrimination, whether for reasons of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation. We understand that, in the political and legislative proposals addressed on the subject of equal opportunities, the perspective of including collectives which are at risk or in a situation of poverty must be incorporated”.
Regarding active support for employment and the Youth Guarantee, the Basque Government welcomes “the reinforcement of the Youth Guarantee, which must be solid, both at the budgetary level and in the measurement and control of results. Youth participation in society and generating opportunities for their emancipation is essential. Young people are part of the solution to the demographic challenge: as a population guarantee and as the future social and economic sustenance of the countries”.
Regarding fair working conditions, on the subject of wages “Lakua” (Basque Government Palace) proposes that Brussels study the feasibility of companies introducing a “living wage” in the framework of exercising their corporate social responsibility.
Work-life balance is another point of attention formulated by the Basque Government to the European Commission “given that work should continue to implement measures for balancing personal, family and working life, as well as to achieve the incorporation of women to the labour market and the development of their professional careers. It is necessary to foster institutional co-responsibility with families through care services networks and to promote practices that enable the equitable distribution of care responsibilities and co-responsible work-life balance between men and women, in order to overcome today’s feminisation of both professional and non-professional care”.
On child assistance and support, Lakua welcomes the feasibility study carried out by the Commission on the implementation of a European Child Guarantee to ensure that all children have access to essential services. A commitment must be made to the rights of the child as well as a guarantee that all boys and girls at risk of poverty and social exclusion have the right to healthcare, education and free care, decent housing and adequate nutritious foods.
In order to guarantee that any person who lacks sufficient resources can have a decent life, the Basque Government deems it appropriate "to influence the issue of coverage and adaptation of the minimum income, combined with incentives to reintegrate into the labor market"
Furthermore, the Basque autonomous executive considers it necessary for the Pillar Action Plan to “favour the inclusion of people with disabilities and to create a structure of protection and social inclusion which helps people with disabilities or functional diversity and protects them of being able to develop their lives with dignity. This is a matter of favouring the transition from protected employment to ordinary employment. We ask the Commission to continue drawing up measures that accompany people with disabilities in order to meet their needs and ensure that these people may enjoy a full and satisfactory life”.
“Within access to housing and attention to the homeless, given that these people are in a situation of extreme vulnerability, we propose – says the Basque Government in its contribution – that the Commission study the feasibility of introducing a European model of “Housing First” services to help end homelessness”.
“Effective application of the European Pillar of Social Rights will only be possible if sufficient financial resources are invested in social policies aimed at applying the rights and principles of the Pillar combined with the required structural reforms and full respect for the principle of subsidiarity. Thus, to improve effectiveness, one very important factor is flexibility taking account of the needs and priorities of each Region, fostering commitment and shared political responsibility” indicated Minister Artolazabal.
In this respect, account must be taken of the differences between socio-economic environments, assigning a predominant role to the authorities that place management and implementation of the 20 key principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights closer to citizens, according to the competences legally attributed to each level of administration.