The Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth will host discussions on how to make the most of new opportunities and tackle the challenges for our labour markets and welfare models, today and in the future. Looking ahead to future challenges, the following areas are central:
1. Fair jobs
2. Inclusive growth
3. Equal opportunities
4. Common challenges – wealth of experience
According to a recent Eurobarometer, more than 8 in 10 Europeans consider unemployment and social inequalities among the top challenges facing the EU. They expect a free market economy to go hand in hand with high levels of social protection.
Good working conditions, equal opportunities, opportunities for training and skills development, access to social protection systems, and a well-functioning social dialogue are examples of areas that all could play an important role in creating sustainable working lives and fair jobs suited to our future societies.
The Standard Eurobarometer of autumn 2016 shows that more than half of Europeans consider that not everyone has a chance to succeed and that life will be more difficult for the next generation.
Promoting more adaptable and mobile labour markets and fostering well-functioning and efficient social protection systems are areas that could play an important role in creating inclusive growth in the future. Other areas are ensuring fair working conditions, including women in the workforce and providing broad access to high-quality education, healthcare and other public goods. These are all examples of areas that could play an important role in ensuring that the benefits of globalisation and economic growth reach all citizens.
According to the Special Eurobarometer on the Future of Europe, most respondents think that the life of young Europeans will be more difficult than that of their own generation. And more than half of all respondents disagree with the statement that in their country everyone has a chance to succeed in life.
Across the EU, there is growing consensus that fostering equal opportunities to ensure that everyone can start well in life, overcome difficulties and realise their own potential is necessary to create resilient societies. This includes giving all women and men equal opportunities for career development, equal pay, shared caring responsibilities and opportunities to develop and keep pace with technological developments through lifelong learning and skills improvement to match the jobs of today and tomorrow. These are examples of areas that could all play an important role in empowering individuals and building more resilient social structures that are able to adapt successfully over time.
Common challenges – wealth of experiences
Different traditions and historical reasons account for how Member States' different welfare systems have been designed and how their social dialogue functions. In many cases, despite many ongoing reforms, there is a need for existing welfare states to adapt to new and largely unprecedented challenges. The social partners also have an important role to play here.
According to the Special Eurobarometer on the Future of Europe, EU citizens view social equality and solidarity as most important to be emphasised by society in order to face global challenges. However, closing the gap between promise, expectations and delivery is a continuous challenge at all levels of responsibility.
The Social Summit aims to draw from the wealth of solutions to societal challenges that is available in Europe and beyond.