Vague promises at EU social summit

The EU member states have committed to minimum joint social standards including fair pay, help for the unemployed and adequate pensions. The charter, called the "Social Pillar", was presented by the EU Commission last April. It is, however, legally non-binding, which prompts a less than euphoric reaction from Europe's press.

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Delo (SI) /

Next dispute looming

For Delo the summit has failed to produce any concrete results:

“The summit was a reaction to the fears of the consequences of globalisation, the changes in the working world and the growing inequality. ... Goals like the right to fair pay and decent living standards or equal pay for women are easier to write down in political declarations than to implement at home. One of the major weak points of the Pillar of Social Rights is that it fails to provide concrete plans for realising its goals. What's more, the interests of the individual countries are too divergent. For example in Eastern Europe Emmanuel Macron's calls for the harmonisation of social standards in Europe are regarded as covertly protectionist efforts.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Brussels must monitor social standards

The "Pillar of Social Rights" is coupled with high expectations, Deutschlandfunk comments :

“It promises to preserve Europe's social standards where they already prevail. And to improve them where they don't. The politicians would do well not to break this promise or dash the hopes they have inspired. By implementing and putting into practice the 20 fundamental social rights listed in Gothenburg. Not overnight, but in a reliable and comprehensible manner. Why, for instance, shouldn't the EU Commission be granted the right to monitor social standards as well as budgets in the member states? That would at least be a first step.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

The pope shows how it's done

While nothing but trite platitudes were exchanged in Gothenburg Pope Francis invited 1,500 needy people to lunch on Sunday, Jutarnji list reports, calling on politicians to follow his example:

“European and Croatian politicians can only win back the people's trust if they pay at least a little attention to the words coming from the Vatican. They should emulate this wonderful, down-to-earth pope who rejects the finery of the Apostolic Palazzo, doesn't want to drive around in a Lamborghini and cares for refugees, the homeless, the poor and the needy. And he doesn't do it to become a little more popular. It's all genuine and comes straight from the heart.”