In 2017, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Commission proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, which set out 20 key principles and rights essentials to build a fairer and more inclusive European Union, based on well-functioning and fair labour markets and social protection systems. The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan outlines activities to be undertaken for turns the principles into concrete actions to benefit EU citizens.
Closing the digital skills gap
In order to achieve its goals to improve employability, boost innovation and ensure social fairness, the Action Plan put an important focus on improving the level of digital skills for citizens, first of all by increasing adult participation in trainings on digital skills and emerging technologies. A skilled workforce is the motor of a prosperous green and digital economy, powered by innovative ideas and products, and technological developments. That is why, one of the main pillar of the Plan is to invest in skills and education to unlock new opportunities for all.
In this regard, the initiative goes hand in hand with the Digital Education Plan 2021-2027, which aims to support the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem in Europe and at enhancing digital skills and competences to address the digital transformation for all.
Moreover, the accelerated digitalisation of workplaces also puts the spotlight on issues related to surveillance, the use of data, and the application of algorithmic management tools. That is why the Action Plan encourages countries and social partners to explore measures to ensure fair telework conditions, and enhance innovative solutions – notably digital ones – that can facilitate the physical and virtual mobility of citizens and support the portability of social security rights.
The Action Plan
Delivering the plan is a joint effort undertaken by EU institutions, national, regional and local authorities, social partners and civil society. The Action Plan proposes three EU targets to set the goals to be reached by 2030:
- At least 78% of the population aged 20 to 64 should be in employment by 2030: to achieve this goal Europe will have to at least halve the gender employment gap (compared to 2019), increase the provision of formal early childhood education and care and decrease the rate of young people neither in employment, nor in education or training (NEETs) from12.6% (2019) to 9%
- At least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year: in particular, at least 80% of people aged 16-74 should have basic digital skills. This is considered as a precondition to increase inclusion and participation in the labour market. Also, early school leaving should be further reduced.
- The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million by 2030: out of the 15 million people, at least 5 million should be children.
These three ambitious targets aim to create a skilled innovative workforce, capable of shaping and adapting to the green and digital transitions outlined by EU strategies.
Implementing the principles of the Social Pillar
The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan aims to fully implement the Social Pillar principles. First of all by creating job opportunities in the real economy, especially to facilitate job-to-job transitions towards the green and digital sectors. Then, by making work standards fit for the future of work in the EU, keeping up with the rapid changes imposed by digitalisation.