Caroline de la Porte gives keynote speech at the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU´s 'High Level Conference on the Economy of Wellbeing'
EU Social Policy and the Economy of Wellbeing, Caroline de la Porte, CBS
The ‘Economy of Wellbeing’, which intends to put citizens at the centre of EU policy-making, resonates well with the EU’s social investment policy and high quality social protection. It also embodies a clear political statement from the Finnish Presidency that member states should the ‘Economy of Wellbeing’ approach horizontally, because it is good for growth, productivity and health. In this talk, I first discuss how social protection, social investment and wellbeing are related, as well as what is distinct about each policy perspective. Secondly, I highlight opportunities, but also constraints regarding EU initiatives in the social policy area, considering subsidiarity and ‘legitimate diversity’ of socio-economic models. Thirdly, I present the European pillar of social rights, which updates existing EU initiatives in social policy, considering the ‘Economy of Wellbeing’ perspective. I argue that it is important to build on existing EU social policy, to be clear about what an ‘Economy of Wellbeing’ approach can add, and to consider the instruments available, as well as the options which are politically feasible, in an EU context.