EU priorities: Working for a strong social Europe

The European Council’s Strategic Agenda for 2019–2024, adopted in June 2019, sets out the main priorities to guide the work of the EU in the coming years. In December 2019, the von der Leyen Commission set out plans for a transition to a fair, climate-neutral and digital Europe. It outlined six top priorities, also reflecting the main priorities for the European Parliament and those in the Council’s Strategic Agenda.

As part of the priorities outlined by the Commission, a number of initiatives were set in motion in 2020 and 2021, with others planned for 2022. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Commission has adjusted its work programme to prioritise actions needed to support the EU’s recovery. EC President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her second State of the Union address on 15 September 2021, touching on the EU's response to COVID-19, as well as priorities around the European Green Deal, digital transformation, young people and the European Pillar of Social Rights. This was followed on 19 October by the adoption of the Commission’s 2022 work programme, outlining the next steps in its agenda towards a post-COVID-19 Europe that is greener, fairer, more digital and more resilient. The 2022 programme outlines new policy initiatives across all six priorities and reflects the lessons learnt from the unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic, while paying particular attention to young people and proposing 2022 as the European Year of Youth. Meanwhile in 2022, the EU has had to adapt and respond to the evolving crisis brought about by the war waged by Russia on Ukraine. The war has resulted in massive destruction in Ukraine and a huge influx of refugees to the EU, prompting a range of support measures at EU level to help Member States meet the needs of refugees. The European Council has activated the first-ever Temporary Protection Directive, which includes special protection for children, access to education and healthcare, as well as access to jobs, accommodation and housing. 

Eurofound research

Eurofound’s work directly feeds into a number of these key areas and aims to inform effective policies that can lead to recovery and resilience in creating a strong social Europe. This work falls under six main topic areas in our programming document for 2021–2024.



Foundation Forum 2022

03 March 2022: In cooperation with the Irish Government, Eurofound held its 7th flagship Foundation Forum 2022. With over 800 participants, this one-day event was an opportunity to explore the theme of Europe’s recovery and how, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU can work to ensure lasting equality, inclusion and social cohesion as it embarks on its path to rebuild a greener, more digital and more resilient Union.

Explore where Eurofound’s research can provide you with the most current findings relevant to the EU policy priorities.

Priority 1: An economy that works for people

Working for social fairness and prosperity. This priority includes the following EU initiatives:

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Priority 2: A Europe fit for the digital age

Empowering people with a new generation of technologies. This priority includes the following initiatives:

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Priority 3: Promoting our European way of life

Building a Union of equality in which we all have the same access to opportunities. This priority includes the following initiatives:

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Priority 4: A European Green Deal

Striving to be the first climate-neutral continent. This priority includes the following initiatives:

  • European Green Deal to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral continent which is fair and just for all and where ‘no one will be left behind’
  • Fit for 55 package presented in July 2021 as part of the European Green Deal to deliver the EU’s 2030 climate targets

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Priority 5: A stronger Europe in the world

Europe to strive for more by strengthening our unique brand of responsible global leadership. This priority includes the following initiatives:

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Priority 6: A new push for European democracy

Nurturing, protecting and strengthening our democracy. This priority includes the following initiatives:

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