Enhancing social rights and EU citizenship (Pre-announcement)
Boosting social rights can help address divergence in social trends among Member States and reduce the risk of socio-economic shocks. At the same time, social rights are essential for the full realisation of EU citizenship and reaching the EU's targets in reducing poverty and social exclusion. By mitigating social risks and by assisting people with transitions and vulnerabilities, social rights can boost trust to public governance. The challenge is to integrate the social dimension into European policies and to connect it with European citizenship going beyond the traditional focus on mobile citizens to look also at those who are "immobile".
Proposals should examine how European citizens have been exercising social rights (e.g. to social protection, housing, health, education, access to labour markets, working conditions, including health and safety at work, mobility) in the wake of the economic crisis. The role of the Member States in protecting social rights should be considered as well as the situation of underrepresented and vulnerable groups, including gender aspects. Proposals should analyse how the EU supports citizens' access to social rights and policy levers to foster upward social convergence in the design of employment policies and social protection systems. They should equally establish the relationship between social policy instruments in Member States and outcomes in terms of social inclusion and fairness and should identify policy priorities. Furthermore, they should assess EU social indicators such as the at-risk-of-poverty rate, material deprivation and quasi-joblessness, thereby aiming to strengthen the statistical base. Developments concerning the European Pillar of Social Rights should be studied, including how they can contribute to the exercise of social rights and to social cohesion. The European Pillar of Social Rights brings forward key social rights of citizens structured around three categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. The merits or pitfalls of harmonisation in social policy among Member States should be investigated. Proposals should also explore conceptualisations and possible content of social citizenship and may consider citizens' own perceptions and understandings of the social dimension of citizenship. Furthermore, attention should be given to the complex links between the exercise of social rights of European citizens and developments in terms of economic growth, inequality trends and social well-being. Studies should also include a historical and comparative dimension when examining the interplay between these factors in European countries.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The action will contribute to advancing the state of the art and normative content of EU social citizenship. It will also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It will put forward recommendations on the exercise of EU social rights as an integral part of EU citizenship and on upward convergence. It will also contribute to constructing narratives of European citizenship.