One year after the Gothenburg Summit when the Pillar was officially proclaimed by the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, the time has come for governments to implement it and for social partners and civil society organisations to make their voices heard.

Hosted by the Spanish Economic and Social Committee and warmly greeted by its President Marcos Pena, the event saw the participation of several representatives of the Spanish cooperative movement, the social economy, third sector and public officials.

On this occasion, CECOP Secretary General Diana Dovgan took the floor to explain what the European Pillar of Social rights is and how it is beneficial to European citizens, enterprises and civil society. Moreover, she reiterated once again that the Pillar cannot be relegated in high-sounding, though fundamental documents, but needs to become a reality for European citizens, especially when it comes to their social rights as workers. Earlier this year, CECOP joined forces with Social Economy Europe, European Movement, Social Platform and the European Trade Union Confederation to create an alliance to defend the Pillar called “Stand Up for the Social Pillar”.

This alliance has been enthusiastically welcomed by COCETA especially in view of strengthening the cooperation with the trade unions movement and calling for a better integration of the cooperative family in the governmental social dialogue at all levels.

Juan Antonio Pedreno, President of COCETA and of Social Economy Europe represented the voice of the social economy actors in Europe and called as well for a full and ambitious implementation of the Pillar across Europe. He further stressed the importance of the alliance as a way to foster a better worker and social integration.

Manuel Mariscal, Vice-President of CECOP and Elena Rodriguez, Director of the Spanish Third Sector Platform, highlighted the importance of properly lobbying the Member States since the implementation of the Pillar is now in their hands.

While Joaquin Nieto, Director of the Spanish Office of the ILO, deplored that in spite of the encouraging positive trend of economic growth the social situation remains critical both in Spain and Europe, Miguel Angel Cabra de Luna, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee reminded that the Pillar is not a binding declaration therefore its implementation will face several difficulties (many of those exacerbated by the fact the employment and social affairs are shared and not exclusive competences of the European Union).

On a final positive note, Maria Antonia Perez Leon, Director of the Spanish Labour Ministry, gave an optimistic address insisting on the fact that some national governments, like the Spanish one, are acting on the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights even though it is not binding. For Spanish readers, here a report of the event published on ServiMedia.

This conference has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" (2014-2020). For further information please consult: