Yesterday, the European Commission officially launched a new initiative, the European Pillar of Social Rights. Following over a year of consultation process, the document of Recommendation has been communicated, and the implementation period will start as of now.

The aim of the European Pillar of Social Rights is to serve as a guide towards efficient employment and social outcomes when responding to current and future challenges which are directly aimed at fulfilling people’s essential needs, and ensuring better enactment and implementation of social rights.

OBESSU welcomes the importance that the Pillar puts on “quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning”, not just for employability reasons, but also for enabling people to fully participate in the society. It has always been one of key stand points of OBESSU, that education has a broader purpose, being a process enabling us to become reflective and self-determinate persons and citizens, and we are happy to see it reflected in the Commission’s communication.

OBESSU appreciates the relevance given in the Pillar to the right of young people to have continued education, apprenticeship, traineeship or a job offer of good standing within 4 months of becoming unemployed or leaving education. We believe that only by ensuring to each student the possibility of further development (either in education or a job opportunity), their full potential can be nurtured and brought into society.   

In light of OBESSU’s work on school students’ welfare, we acknowledge the importance given to the right to access to essential services such as transport and financial services. OBESSU strongly advocates to ensure that social security systems on any levels must recognize these needs and guarantee school students the right to social autonomy. Such provisions are currently far from reality, as our research through member organisations has shown. We also want to call particular attention to the need of guaranteeing the social rights to migrant and refugee community, as this aspect is not explicitly present in the Pillar, and our work has demonstrated that without such provisions, a meaningful inclusion cannot take place.

Given that the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights is largely in the competence of the Member States, OBESSU and its Member, Candidate and Affiliate Organisations commit to monitoring it on both European and national levels, to ensure that school students’ rights will be enhanced through the provision proposed by this instrument. We therefore call on the Member States and the European Commission to ensure student involvement in designing and monitoring the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

For more information, please feel free to contact the Board of OBESSU at board@obessu.org

Please find and donwload the PDF version here.