The European Union is founded on the principle of social rights advancing alongside economic growth and sustainable development. EU Member States share common values, which together make Europe a unique model of society in the global context.
Many of the principles of Social Europe are in line with those of the trade union movement: solidarity, equality, social justice, internationalism, and the view that economic wealth should be used to benefit all members of the community, without excluding or discriminating against groups or individuals.
In the ETUC’s view, high social standards are an essential stimulus to innovation, productivity and sustainable growth. Social Europe has five main characteristics:
fundamental social rights, including freedom of association and the right to strike;
social protection and wealth redistribution measures;
social dialogue and consultation with workers;
social and employment regulation;
state responsibility for full employment, services of general interest, and economic and social cohesion.