The ongoing thrust to put social concerns at the heart of the European project is welcome if belated.
Since 2008, the EU has increasingly focussed on the task of reinforcing its economic structures, no matter what the human and social cost.
This has fed populist and extremist ideologies.
Making the social pillar meaningful is going to be hard.
It will need to go beyond collating pan-European policies and setting them up as remote signposts for future implementation.
What has happened with the social goals set for 2020 should serve as a warning.
Expectations should not be inflated beyond what can be attained. Within set priorities, resources must be mobilised to really implement goals.
Then, there is the challenge of facing up to the way by which under EU rules, economies and public budgets react to downturns.
Especially in the eurozone, the major policy tool is internal devaluation.
As experience has shown, this undermines social cohesion, creates hardship and at best brings about a slow recovery that leaves people with a lower standard of living to what they were used to previously.
Will the social pillar be robust enough to counter the effects of internal devaluations in European societies?

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