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Socio-economic inequalities in Europe: restoring social trust by strengthening social rights

Europe’s prosperity has been seemingly growing for decades but disparities have kept widening between and within countries. These inequalities not only negatively affect individuals and communities, but “also restrain overall economic development, undermine social justice, and hurt the functioning of our society”, PACE Committee on Social Affairs said. And structural inequalities, the committee added, were “magnified during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Adopting a draft resolution based on the report prepared by Selin Sayek Böke (Turkey, SOC), the committee recalled member States’ duty “to adequately protect socio-economic rights set out in the European Social Charter” and invited them to seek legislative and regulatory changes aimed at facilitating their populations’ access to quality public services, adequate housing and stable employment, while mainstreaming social objectives in their policy making.

Systemic changes in labour market policies should be considered, including closing the gender pay and pension gaps, establishing personal training accounts and providing lifelong learning opportunities, or by strengthening regulatory policy frameworks on corporate social responsibility.

According to the adopted text, "a major change in the decision-making process is necessary" to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.

The Assembly will debate the report at its Autumn Plenary Session (27-30 September 2021).

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