Following its proclamation on 17 November 2017, implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights is now a joint commitment of the Member States and the European institutions.
The rights and principles of the Pillar cover a wide range of issues, including the right to quality education, training and life-long learning, access to healthcare, gender equality, childcare, fair wages, work-life balance, consultation with social partners, and access to essential services. Consequently, communication about the Pillar remains a challenge and its implementation largely depends on Member States and social partners on the ground.
Precisely because of this, it is vital to raise awareness of these principles and to ensure that civil society, social partners and other multipliers on the ground can help to make the Pillar a reality.
What does "Pillar ambassador" mean?
As a general rule “ambassadors” are already engaged on social issues and therefore potentially interested and willing to endorse the European Pillar of Social Rights. They could be champions or advocates of a particular cause, well-known personalities, people with a high social media presence, engaged with civil society, or experts on a particular issue linked to one of the principles of the Pillar (e.g.: gender equality) etc.
The way ambassadors/multipliers can interact in supporting a message depends on the profile of the multiplier. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.
What is the role of a Pillar ambassador?
The role of Pillar ambassador is to raise awareness about the European Pillar of Social Rights or one particular aspect of it among their contacts, networks, followers, etc. Ambassadors spread the word and, consequently, contribute to the application of those rights.
- have a good understanding of the European Pillar of Social Rights
- may contribute to disseminating information about it among colleagues or with citizens in meetings where he/she takes part insofar as it is relevant
- establish links between their own activities and the European Pillar of Social Rights where relevant.
The cooperation between the European Commission and the Pillar ambassadors is informal in nature and is based on a mutual interest in enhancing a fairer and more social Europe. It does not involve any contractual obligations or remuneration. However, should activities in the context of cooperation around the European Pillar of Social Rights require certain expenditure (e.g: travelling to speak at a conference on social issues organised by the European Commission), the reimbursement of those costs might be considered.
The envisaged cooperation has no particular duration and it can be ended at any time by either side.
What is the European Commission doing to support ambassadors?
This support could involve, though not be limited to:
- Social media visibility
- information on any aspect of the Pillar
- communication materials for presentations, events, etc. in the national language, available to multipliers free of charge
- provision of speakers for the ambassadors' network events if available
Depending on the number and profile of Pillar ambassadors, other options could be envisaged such as networking events for advocates of social rights in the EU or the creation of a network of Social Pillar ambassadors, etc.
What is expected from ambassadors?
Since the aim is to promote the European Pillar of Social Rights, ambassadors should promote a particular principle(s) or subprinciple(s) close to their heart among their contacts, their networks and through their daily work to generate support and advocacy at a local and grassroots level.
This endorsement could take many different forms. For example, ambassadors' endorsement of the Pillar could involve, though not be limited to:
- Participating at an event
- Speaking at an event or on a panel
- Explaining and promoting the Pillar or one of its principles on their website or social media accounts
- Publishing articles about the Pillar in the organisation’s newsletter
- Ensuring Pillar materials are available at their office
- Sharing, re-posting and liking social media posts on the subject which will be seen by their followers (#SocialRights).
Source: communication office of the DG EMPL, January 2020
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