La Hulpe Declaration on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights

Nicolas Schmit

PES common candidate Nicolas Schmit delivering closing remarks before the signing of the La Hulpe declaration

The Declaration on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights, endorsed today by the Council of the European Union in La Hulpe, is a strong signal that the EU must continue to act for social progress.

Since its proclamation in 2017, the European Pillar of Social Rights has guided Europe towards greater equality and inclusivity. In 2021, at the initiative of Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, EU leaders reached a milestone agreement known as the Porto Declaration, introducing actionable commitments and concrete headline targets, further solidifying the EU’s commitment to advancing social progress and inclusion.

Commenting on the declaration, PES president Stefan Löfven said:

“PES firmly places social rights at the top of its agenda. We commend the work done by Deputy Prime Ministers Pierre-Yves Dermagne and Franck Vandenbroucke for the Belgian Presidency of the Council. After Porto in 2021, the Council’s renewed commitment to progress on the implementation of the Pillar in La Hulpe today sets a clear path for the EU and Member States. 

Throughout the upcoming European elections campaign, you can count on us Socialists, and on our common candidate, Nicolas Schmit, to hammer the same message. We will build on the successes of this mandate, most recently on platform work, to continue pushing for the full implementation of the Pillar of Social Rights. We will continue to support social investment and solid public services.

We strongly regret that the EPP-led Swedish and Austrian governments are abandoning the road opened by the Pillar of Social Rights, and that the employers’ organisation BusinessEurope does not recognise the significance of this social agenda at the European level. Nevertheless, we will make sure the message of social Europe is heard during the European elections’ debate and is translated at the heart of the next Commission’s work programme too.”

The Declaration addresses principles for the EU’s social policy amidst the digital and green transitions strongly echoing PES’ own priorities, including:

  • Overcoming all remaining obstacles to gender equality and securing the full realisation of women’s rights.
  • Ensuring the quality of jobs by prioritising decent working conditions, strong collective bargaining, and adequate and fair wages.
  • Ensuring fair working conditions in key areas for the digital age and incorporating the ‘human in control’ principle for artificial intelligence in the world of work.
  • Giving effect to the right and freedom of access for all to accessible, affordable, and high-quality public services and services of general interest.

PES stands with the Council in underlining the importance of implementing the initiatives agreed upon since 2017 and inviting the European Commission to review the Pillar Action Plan. We remain committed to fully implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and updating the Pillar Action Plan accordingly.