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How can we protect social rights for all?

carballo ©, 2021

Equal access to healthcare, education, work and housing top most people’s list of essentials for a good quality of life. The Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 will explore ways we can protect these social rights for all.

“Economic and social rights offer protection across many of the areas that most shape our daily lives,” explains Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).

But the Coronavirus pandemic throws the fragility of these economic and social rights into sharp relief.

To monitor the pandemic’s impact, FRA released a bulletin focusing on the implications of Coronavirus restrictions on people’s social rights.

It details how the pandemic affects the social rights enshrined in the Union’s own bill of rights, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and highlights the groups most at risk.

Michael further says: “Older people, people with disabilities, Roma and Travellers, homeless people and migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are just some of those who too often find themselves the object of debates, rather than part of the conversation to find solutions.

“As evidence increasingly shows how the virus is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable members of our societies, we all have a responsibility to give voice to those rarely heard in policy discussions.”

The EU is committed to updating its ‘social rulebook’ – the European Pillar of Social Rights – by 2030. It sets out three major goals to achieve by then:

  • at least 78% of the population employed;
  • 60% of workers receiving training annually;
  • 15 million people removed from risk of poverty and social exclusion.

European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit says: “Two out of three Europeans see a lack of social rights as a serious problem right now.

“This is surely a call to action for us all…this is also the collective duty of a European Union that stands for solidarity and equality.”

He stresses the importance of social rights in helping to create a level playing field in areas such as gender equality.

The Commissioner adds: “In the past year, women have been on duty at work and at home. It is time we pay them what we owe them.

“And it is time we invest in care infrastructures so that anyone who wants to, can develop a career of their own with the same opportunities and the same wage.”

If you are interested in finding new ways to protect economic and social rights for all, join us at the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 in October.

More information coming soon!

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