Published: working paper on an analysis of the European Pillar of Social Rights


Working paper: A Resource-Based conception for the analysis of the European Pillar of Social Rights: implication for further developments

EuSocialCit scholars from the University of Milan – Maurizio Ferrera and Federico Bruno – have published a working paper that summarizes the conceptual framework developed by EuSocialCit and shows its application for an analysis of EPSR.

This paper summarises the conceptual framework developed by EUSOCIALCIT and shows how it can be fruitfully used for a detailed examination of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) as well as the actions and measures adopted to implement it so far. Section 2 presents EUSOCIALCIT’s resource-based approach to social rights. We conceive of social rights as bundles of power resources that empower individuals to claim and obtain benefits, services, or the respect of certain rules from other individuals or from public authorities. In particular, we distinguish three types of power resources. Normative resources provide the basis and rationale for claiming social rights and can be divided into two categories: deontic resources (which define a desirable state of affairs which ought to be established in practice by means of individual enablement) and legal resources (which specify what category of people is entitled to what benefit). Instrumental resources include all channels – formal or informal, provided either by public authorities or by other actors – which make the social rights accessible to the right-holders. Enforcement resources, finally, allow right-holders to seek adjudication in case of dispute.

In section 3, we apply our conceptual framework to the EPSR and to the measures adopted to implement it. The 20 principles of the EPSR are treated as deontic resources. They enunciate 27 programmatic rights (i.e., the desirable creation of legal resources) and contain a number of specific prescriptions, in many cases recommending the creation of instrumental and enforcement resources. As regards the EPSR implementation, the paper identifies 48 measures which have created at least one type of power resource: 38 legal resources, 29 instrumental resources and 12 enforcement resources.

In section 4, we focus on instrumental resources. We identify four critical junctures in the acquisition of social rights: becoming aware of the social right, claim-making, acquisition of the benefit, problems and non-compliance. Then, we provide a (provisional) taxonomy of instrumental resources; these include channels of information; outreach and awareness-raising activities; (simplified) application procedures; accessible public administration; guidance and counselling; instruments to make benefits accessible; problem solving; assistance to access justice in case of non-compliance; the involvement of and consultation with civil society organisations.

The paper concludes with an overall assessment of the EPSR implementation so far, distinguishing between “adequate”, “limited” and “insufficient” implementation for each EPSR principle.