Commission proposes more efficient decision-making in social policy

A few days ago, the European Commission launched a render on how to render decision-making at EU level more efficient in the social field.

President Juncker announced a comprehensive review of the so-called passerelle clauses provided for by the EU Treaties, which will allow for a shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting under certain circumstances.

As a result, three Communications have already been adopted: on common foreign and security policy (September 2018), on taxation (January 2019) and on energy and climate (April 2019). The Communication on the passerelle clauses in social policy is the fourth one Communications.

Accordingly, Commission as the first step proposes to consider the use of the passerelle to facilitate decision-making on non-discrimination. This would help further develop equal protection against discrimination. The use of the passerelle clause could also be considered in the near future to adopt recommendations in the area of social security and social protection of workers. This would help to guide the process of modernization of and convergence between social protection systems.

Moving to qualified majority voting does not change who does what. The scope of and conditions for the exercise of EU powers remain intact. For example, Member States will continue to be responsible to determine the features of their own social protection systems. Social partners will keep their competences and national social dialogue traditions remain untouched. Union action will continue to focus on where it is necessary and can deliver clear benefits, as foreseen in the Treaties.

To activate this passerelle clause, according to Article 48(7) of the Treaty on European Union, the European Council would have to decide by unanimity, with no objection from national parliaments, and with the European Parliament's consent.

More about the passerelle clauses and the European Commission's decisions on the link

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