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EU renews commitment to a strong and resilient social Europe at conference in La Hulpe



At the High-Level Conference on the European Pillar of Social Rights today in La Hulpe, Belgium, participants have renewed their commitment to the European Social Model to continue making social and economic progress, combining increased competitiveness and productivity with equal opportunities, promoting more quality jobs and fair working conditions, reduce poverty and inequalities and delivering a fair transition to climate neutrality.

In the Declaration on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Commission and other signatories pledged to continue implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and further strengthen employment and social dimensions amidst digital and green transitions and the demographic shifts.

The text considers areas for possible future action, and reaffirms the Pillar as the guiding compass for national and EU employment and social policies.

Key outcomes of the conference

At the conference in La Hulpe, participants agreed that the Pillar will continue to guide national and EU actions to address employment, skills and social challenges, and to foster upward convergence in working and living conditions in the EU.

The declaration welcomes the plan to review the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan in 2025. This will also serve as a basis for further actions to achieve the 2030 EU and national headline targets for employment, skills and poverty reduction.

In addition, the declaration refers to the need to empower social partners and collective bargaining and acknowledges the role of civil society, in particular when it comes to fighting social exclusion and inequalities. It also highlights the relevance of equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion.

Finally, when it comes to governance, the declaration underlines the role of the Pillar across economic and social policy areas as well as the importance of social investment, distributional impact assessment and upward social convergence


The Declaration on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights was signed by the European Commission, Prime Minister De Croo on behalf of 25 EU Member States, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, the majority of European social partners and civil society.

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017 at the Gothenburg Summit. The Pillar sets out 20 key principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in the 21st century.

In the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan these principles were turned into concrete actions to further implement the Pillar to the benefit of citizens. At the Porto Summit in 2021, the EU and Member States put forward for the first time three EU headline targets for employment, skills and poverty reduction for 2030. To contribute to this shared endeavour, Member States have presented their own national targets.

The High-Level Conference on the European Pillar of Social Rights on 15-16 April 2024 has been organised by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was attended by

  • European Parliament President Roberta Metsola
  • Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on behalf of the Belgian EU Presidency
  • Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
  • Commissioner Nicolas Schmit
  • President of the European Economic and Social Committee Oliver Röpke
  • Belgian Ministers Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Frank Vandenbroucke, David Clarinval and Karine Lalieux
  • representatives from EU social partners of ETUC, Business Europe, SME United, SGI Europe, and the Social Platform

This conference follows the recent Val Duchesse declaration, which underlined that effective social dialogue in the EU is fundamental for the European social market economy.

A new Eurobarometer survey shows that 88% of respondents consider a social Europe important to them personally. In addition, 60% of respondents are aware of at least one recent key EU initiative in the areas of employment, social affairs and inclusion, such as the minimum wages directive, the work-life balance directive, or the European Social Fund Plus.

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