Advancing the European Union’s Social Dimension

Resolution submitted by: JEF Political Commission 2 – Internal European Affairs
Adopted by the Federal Committee in Skopje on 25 March 2018.
Amended and re-adopted and amended by the online Federal Committee (FC Home) on 25 October 2020.
Amended and re-adopted by the Federal Committee in Malta on 19 March 2023.

JEF Europe,

  • Recognising the need to build a common European social policy able to lead to a common economic plan for sustainable development and social welfare in Europe to improve European social cohesion with an end goal of eradication of poverty and promotion of increased well-being of all living in Europe;
  • Recognising that such a common European social policy needs to be financed through a larger and federal European budget raised through genuine own resources rather than national contributions;
  • Concerned by the persistent institutional barriers which leave the process of legislative convergence on social issues as an exclusive competence of Member States, with no regulatory powers on the States that are not fulfilling their responsibilities;
  • Noting further an evident disparity between economic governance, where sanctions are clearly provided, and social governance where there is no binding legislation;
  • Alarmed by the persistence of horizontal and vertical inequalities – aggravated by the previous, current and future economic crises – among European citizens and Member States;
  • Deeply concerned about growing and persistent income inequalities, along with employment and pay gaps between men and women and difficulties for more vulnerable groups, such as older workers, migrants and people with disabilities;
  • Noting with concern the high number of 94,5 million people in the EU or 21,7 % of the population (2021) living at risk of poverty or social exclusion, as well as more than one fifth of households with dependent children living at risk of poverty or social exclusion; [1]
  • Recalling that the current economic challenges pose an even greater threat to those living in or at risk of poverty or social exclusion with a risk to push families to cross-generational poverty;
  • Emphasising the difficulties that young people face in entering the labour market and in benefiting from forms of social protection, especially following the COVID-19 health crisis, and consequent economic downturn;
  • Taking into consideration the growing flexibility of employment in the EU labour market, which fosters job creation but has also made employment more precarious, impacting especially younger generations and lower wage sectors;
  • Taking note of the increase in voluntary as well as non-voluntary “non- standard” forms of employment, e.g. platform employment, zero-hour contracts and short-term contracts, which have contributed to the erosion of forms of workers’ protection normally guaranteed with traditional forms of labour, as well as contributed to slower development of pension benefits;
  • Emphasising the importance of the free movement of people and Schengen Agreement in relation to the job security of cross-border workers, migrant workers, posted workers and other kind of persons working outside of their place of residence or origin, as well as the right of these workers to enjoy the same fundamental and non-derogable social and economic rights as the rest of the working population;
  • Recognising that climate change and the loss of biodiversity and natural resources is a contributing factor to growing socio-economic inequalities;
  • Underlining the need for strong federal institutions on the European level in order to manage supranational challenges;
  • Hopeful about the reinforced attention to the social dimension shown by the commitments made in the European Pillar of Social Rights, but at the same time regretting that little action has been made for these commitments to be put in practice;
  • Observing with concern the introduction by some countries of restrictions to the right to strike;
  • Recognising the need of equitably distributed prosperity, with appropriate measures of employment protection and welfare, as a fundamental condition to relaunch the European project with the support of European citizens;
  • Reaffirming the phrase “equal pay for equal work at the same place” that should be applied in the Single Market;
  • Notingwith concern the worrying development of economic and social insecurity affecting especially young and low-educated people, families and migrants;
  • Recognising the importance of initiatives such asALMA in social empowerment of disadvantaged young people; [2]
  • Welcoming the establishment of the European Labour Authority, while regretting its narrow mandate, as amended by the Council;

JEF Europe therefore,

  1. Asks for a binding European framework of social rights as a first step towards a European welfare state and as an essential element of an integrated European labour market, given that integrated economies and increased labour mobility also call for coordinated forms of social protection;
  1. Demands Europe-wide eradication of poverty and social exclusion through setting a special focus and targeted tools;
  1. Underlines the importance of protecting whistleblowers in the workplace, whose contribution is fundamental in ensuring fair and safe labour practices;
  1. Demands that the EU and European countries take initiative in removing all forms of labour discrimination, and that initiatives are introduced to promote the employment of people facing difficulties in accessing employment, e.g. people with disabilities or ageing workers;
  1. Requests, further, that a sufficient level of protection for workers be ensured across the Union, by consistently enforcing existing European laws, and – when necessary – improving the coherence and effectiveness of the European legal framework on social matters, in particular when it concerns multinationals and cross-border businesses;
  1. Requests further investment in human development through strengthening the budgetary capacity of the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), with particular focus on young people that are unemployed or just entering the labour market, through a reinforced Youth Employment Initiative;
  1. Calls for the further improvement of the Youth Employment Initiative to guarantee the presence of insurance against unemployment, social shock absorbers, equal working conditions, adequate balance between rights and duties of workers and employers and between flexibility and social security;
  1. Calls upon the Youth Employment Initiative to be able to formulate appropriate policies against absolute poverty, relative poverty and in-work poverty;
  1. Calls for the EU and European countries to continue and further develop social empowerment initiatives for disadvantaged groups, including young people and people with disabilities;
  1. Demands a ban on unpaid labour in form of unpaid internships and traineeships as well as guaranteeing equal enjoyment of fundamental labour rights and fair labour conditions in internships and traineeships;
  1. Underlines the importance of aid for people in need of monetary benefits, voluntary training services and social inclusion programmes to support the transition period from unemployment to employment refusing coercive forms of work;
  1. Calls upon European countries to commit to a long term simplification, harmonization and reform of social security systems to provide support in rapidly changing life situations, for entrepreneurs, students, people in short time employment, people with children or acting as family caregivers, or anyone else in need, aiming towards a future where social security is automatised, thus draining less resources;
  1. Urges the Commission to build upon the SURE (the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency), towards the establishment of a permanent European unemployment (re)insurance scheme, whose twin objectives would be to stabilise the economic cycle, as well as improve workers’ social protection;
  1. Supports harmonisation of working standards throughout the European Union and the Single Market, according to the principle of “same pay for the same work in the same location”;
  1. Supports the creation of a framework for adequate and decent wages, fully respecting collective agreements and bargaining or through statutory minimum wages, which represent a real living wage;
  1. Calls for full European compliance with the minimum age set in ILO Convention 138 at 18 for work which is likely to jeopardise the health or safety of young people and ensuring special protection for young workers;
  1. Stresses the importance for employers of adhering to minimum requirements for occupational safety and health, as well as providing a basic level of medical care and mental well-being supporting services, of course ensuring the confidentiality of patient data;
  1. Recommends for European countries to strengthen the legislative framework which requires employers to ensure the health and medical fitness of workers at their workplaces, including for remote work;
  1. Urges Member States to engage in enhanced cooperation on social issues or social compacts, following the example of the Schengen agreements, in order to achieve better integration among those countries with similar social standards and avoid the risk of social dumping;
  1. Stresses the importance of an easy access to public education, ensuring free education opportunities and the recognition of skills and knowledge acquired through non-formal learning;
  1. Calls for a European-wide plan to support the education of disadvantaged people and for the promotion of lifelong learning including ensuring the necessary economic support for studying;
  1. Demands the EU and its Member States take decisive action to close the pay gap;
  1. Encourages Europe-wide support for families in form of family-leave reforms encouraging parents to share parental leaves and financial burdens more equally, as well as introducing initiatives such as the baby box and child benefits; [3]
  1. Calls for European countries to set up plans for ensuring fair retirement conditions for young and future generations in an ageing continent, and to introduce a Single Market for retirement benefits to ensure development of pensions also when working in a different jurisdiction;
  1. Demands the European Commission and the Member States recognise the limits of the current system based on peer review and exchange of best practices and to set binding laws and sanctions for the States that are not fulfilling their responsibilities in terms of social protection;
  1. Encourages the development of Europe-wide trade unions in order to become a true bargaining power and to establish adequate instruments for the protection of workers in an ever more globalised world where the transnational dimension of business is on the rise;
  1. Requests the European Labour Authority be given a mandate to ensure correct application of European labour law and to fight against violations, fraud and abuse by proposing sanctions on Member States in case of a failure to comply with their obligations; [4]
  1. Demands that a common European Social Policy forms the base of a federal social union with proper resources, democratic instruments, and concrete tools for its implementation;
  1. Calls for a European welfare state financed with an enlarged European budget independent from Member State contributions, funded by substantial and genuine own resources, based on a EU-wide system of taxation.

[2] European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion: ALMA