Faith-based actors and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights

19-06-2018

The European Pillar of Social Rights was jointly proclaimed and signed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council at the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017. The 20 principles and rights that make up the Social Pillar build on the existing social acquis, i.e. social mandate contained in binding provisions of EU law, and should serve as a 'compass' for the renewal of current labour markets and welfare systems across the European Union (EU). Their implementation is largely the responsibility of the Member States in cooperation with the social partners and with the support of the European Union. Faith-based organisations are similar to voluntary organisations, i.e. civil society associations, third sector organisations and non-profit organisations. Some are inspired by religious values without being formally linked to religious institutions. They play an important role in addressing social problems, particularly in relation to under-served populations. They often cooperate with secular organisations and contribute to the welfare state. In the EU context, there is no distinction between faith-based and secular organisations, when it comes to policy development, programme implementation or funding. Faith-based organisations have welcomed the Social Pillar and have emphasised in particular the role they could play in its implementation at grassroots level. Not only can they provide services, they can also help to devise strategies and funding schemes by connecting local, national and European actors. There are still a lot of gaps in the evaluation of their activities, however, which makes it difficult to quantify their real contribution to the functioning of the welfare state.

The European Pillar of Social Rights was jointly proclaimed and signed by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council at the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017. The 20 principles and rights that make up the Social Pillar build on the existing social acquis, i.e. social mandate contained in binding provisions of EU law, and should serve as a 'compass' for the renewal of current labour markets and welfare systems across the European Union (EU). Their implementation is largely the responsibility of the Member States in cooperation with the social partners and with the support of the European Union. Faith-based organisations are similar to voluntary organisations, i.e. civil society associations, third sector organisations and non-profit organisations. Some are inspired by religious values without being formally linked to religious institutions. They play an important role in addressing social problems, particularly in relation to under-served populations. They often cooperate with secular organisations and contribute to the welfare state. In the EU context, there is no distinction between faith-based and secular organisations, when it comes to policy development, programme implementation or funding. Faith-based organisations have welcomed the Social Pillar and have emphasised in particular the role they could play in its implementation at grassroots level. Not only can they provide services, they can also help to devise strategies and funding schemes by connecting local, national and European actors. There are still a lot of gaps in the evaluation of their activities, however, which makes it difficult to quantify their real contribution to the functioning of the welfare state.