AEIP provided input in the Social Dialogue on the High-Level Group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU
On 6th April AEIP participated in the Social Dialogue on the High-Level Group on the future of social protection and of the welfare state in the EU. We appreciated the chance to present some preliminary points to DG EMPL and the Chair of the HLEG – Ms Anna Diamantopoulou:
- Paritarian institutions are a key component of a well-structured reflection and democratically driven transformation of the EU welfare states. They can strengthen and promote their role as a legitimate mediator between institutions and citizens in the generalized debate for the redesigning of social protection systems.
- Paritarian institutions are also able to provide solutions against the rising challenges of the labour market, such as vocational training and qualification of workers while they can be seen as an instrument for understanding the changing needs of workers, such as a balanced reconciliation of family and work life. Due to their involvement in cross-border situations, for example for posted workers, paritarian institutions foster the free movement of workers, prevent wage dumping and support the development of the internal market.
- Social partners adhering to the principles of paritarism must be actively involved in the transformation of social protection systems. Thus, the HLG on the future of welfare state should recommend to governments to promote conditions and regulatory frameworks that foster social dialogue among social partners, which is crucial to the development of the paritarian social model.
- AEIP welcomed the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, underlining in its response to the Commission consultation the important role of paritarian institutions across the EU for the creation of sustainable and inclusive social protection. In that respect, we stressed that the European Semester can be an important vehicle for promoting and enhancing pension adequacy through its Country Specific Recommendations and social indicators.
- Despite the positive elements mentioned in the Green Paper on Ageing, we regret that it did not address some important aspects that are linked to the ageing phenomenon such as demographic policies or, when it did, like in the case of migration, this was not sufficiently developed. In our opinion, the European Commission should adopt a multidimensional approach and take into consideration a modern population policy framework. In that sense, the reflection should focus on several interrelated issues such as birth rates, immigration and ecologically sustainable demographic trends, all relevant aspects to deliver an inclusive policy response to Europe’s demographic and ageing challenges.
- In addition, we need to ensure that older persons have access to an adequate level of pensions as well as good healthcare and long-term care services. Occupational pensions and earnings-related pensions are key institutions for the provision of adequate pensions for all. By promoting such institutions, the HLG on the future of the welfare state will ensure better protection for citizens.
- Old age poverty risk can also be reduced by making sure that individuals from early on make informed decisions on their retirement and that they are covered by retirement institutions. For that reason, the state and the social partners should promote this kind of collective insurance model, making sure that occupational and earning-related pension schemes are available as well as appealing at national level.
- A good measure, for example, would be the enhancement of coverage for collective schemes and the introduction of quasi-mandatory or nudge mechanisms, such as automatic enrolment.
- Also, we need to create a proper regulatory framework in all EU Member States to extend formal coverage to workers and the self- employed. Social protection has traditionally been designed with a specific profile of worker in mind which, in most cases, excludes self-employed and non-standard workers.