FEMM/SOC Commissions: Social Pillar and skills & work-life balance policies on the agenda

Today, CESI's Commissions on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Employment and Social Affairs (SOC) convened for their last meeting of the year in Brussels. As CESI's most important members' committees for deliberation and positioning on horizontal aspects of EU social, employment and gender equality policies, the meetings addressed some of CESI's most pressing priorities in this field.

FEMM/SOC Commissions: Social Pillar and skills & work-life balance policies on the agenda

With Mary Collins from the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) as an expert speaker, the FEMM Commission focused predominately on CESI’s priorities concerning EU work-life balance policies.  As part of a second-phase social partner consultation, CESI is currently in the process of compiling a written statement about the European Commission’s roadmap ‘New start to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families‘, to be submitted before September 30.

FEMM Commission: Gender pensions gap, work-life balance policy priorities and cooperation with the EWL

The FEMM Commission also heard a presentation by Ms Collins about the EWL’s new campaign on equal pensions, entitled ‘Together we can make it happen, equal pension rights for women now!‘. It was decided to contribute to this campaign with awareness-raising activities.

Discussing CESI’s membership at the EWL, the FEMM Commission concluded that cooperation has been very successful but that there is scope for more project-oriented collaboration between the two organisations.

SOC Commission: Towards a successful Pillar of Social Rights and a balanced New Skills Agenda

The SOC Commission concentrated its debates on main messages to be submitted to the European Commission in relation to a public consultation on a new European Pillar of Social Rights, proposed by the European Commission in March this year. Maria Luisa Llano Cardenal from the European Commission (DG EMPL) presented the latest developments and state of play of the consultation. Gilberto Pelosi from the Social Platform, the largest European-level umbrella organisation for social NGOs, presented the work his organisation has been doing in relation to the Pillar. Mr Pelosi and SOC Commission members agreed that any forthcoming Pillar can only bring real positive social outcomes for workers and citizens if it includes an effective implementation and enforcement mechanism in the Member States. 

Michael Horgan, also from the European Commission (DG EMPL), was then invited for a presentation on the New Skills Agenda, an initiative published by the European Commission in June 2016. The SOC Commission members highlighted that the European Commission’s take on skills measures must not be overly utilitarian and based on economic necessities: Encouraging more civic education is just as important as adapting the teaching of skills to the needs of labour markets, SOC Commission members noted.

This was the last meeting of the FEMM/SOC Commissions before CESI’s Congress in December this year, after which both Commissions need to be formally reinstated by a newly elected Presidium.

 Picture: © CESI 2016