EU leaders meet to pledge commitment to social issues in post-pandemic world

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The EU returned to full-format summitry on Friday, but with with a heavy dose of pandemic precautions and preoccupation, which meant strict social distancing at a leaders’ meeting focused on social policy.

The Porto Social Summit is an event hosted by the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union and is intended to boost an EU drive to tackle social problems — but the coronavirus has cast a shadow over those efforts and threatens to undo years of progress.. It consists of:

  • a high-level conference with social partners
  • an informal meeting of EU heads of state or government

The overall aim is to set the European social policy agenda for the next decade and ensure that we face the challenges of the present and of the future leaving no one behind. At the high-level conference, member states, European institutions, social partners and civil society come together to reinforce their commitment to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The EU proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017. The pillar sets out 20 key principles that guide us towards a strong social Europe that is fair, inclusive and full of opportunity in the 21st century.

In March 2021, the European Commission presented an action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The action plan proposes a number of initiatives and sets three main targets to be achieved throughout Europe by 2030:

  • an employment rate of at least 78% in the European Union
  • at least 60% of adults attending training courses every year
  • reducing the number of people at risk of social exclusion or poverty by at least 15 million people, including 5 million children