The European Commission adopted its ‘Autumn Package’, including the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) 2018 and the Draft Joint Employment Report (JER), and a proposal to amend the Employment Guidelines to bring it in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights in late November. The main message and this is echoed elsewhere is that from the AGS 2018 the EU is showing positive signs of recovery, and that structural reforms have yielded tangible results, enabling an opportunity to improve growth and jobs, and promoting economic and social convergence.
The Pillar of Social Rights is said to be fully integrated, focussed on skills, equal opportunities in the labour market, fair working conditions, increasing labour productivity to support wage growth and adequate and sustainable social protection. It is meant to be a ‘compass’ for the Semester.
Social Platform points out though, the 3 priorities remain almost unchanged from previous years – 1) boosting investment, 2) pursuing structural reforms and 3) ensuring responsible fiscal policies – with no mention of Europe 2020 targets including poverty reduction, concerns are raised about how far economic policies will be adapted to ‘put social rights first’, or whether the EU will continue to prioritize growth, relying on ‘trickle-down’ to promote social rights and inclusion, despite strong evidence of the failure of this approach.
They call for 5 priorities for action:
- Ensure macroeconomic policies are coherent with social rights
- Set out a roadmap with EU funding to implement the Social Pillar and reduce poverty
- Give equal weight to adequate minimum income and social protection as a right, ensuring adequate financing
- Promote quality jobs, as part of integrated Active Inclusion approaches
- Make Civil Society equal partners in the Semester
Read more HERE.
Social Platform have also listed their Highlights for 2017 as we move in 2018. We would draw attention to their first which is an important step in promoting social and community development.
1 Pushing ‘Social’ to the top of the agenda. The momentum around social policies was driven by the European Pillar of Social Rights, which we have been highlighting in the last Members Updates. It promotes equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. At the start of the year the European Parliament voted in support of the Pillar and its aims, and the year ended with the Pillar being proclaimed by the Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of the European Union.
The proclamation signing was the concluding moment of the EU Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden on 17 November. The Summit marked the first occasion in 20 years that social policies have been exclusively discussed by EU Heads of State and Government.
Social Platform’s highlights from 2017 can be found HERE.
References: EuCDN Update 13 Newsletter.