Social platform calls on Ministers of Social Affairs for investment as alternative to austerity. Investment in quality employment and quality social services as a way to recover from the economic crisis
Social Services: Social Platform calls on European Social Ministers to protect social services from the crisis and the on-going fiscal austerity. â€śSocial services are not the cause of the economic crisis but they are the answer to the social consequences of itâ€ť
On April 24, at the informal EPSCO Council in Horsens, Denmark, Social Platform and European social ministers discussed how social services are under pressure at the time of economic crisis and the issue of Youth and Employment.
â€śWe see an increasing tendency that the growing needs for social services, to face the social consequences of the crisis, are being considered a burden for state budgets. This starting point needs to change. Social and health services are not a cost but an investment for current and future social cohesion in society. The focus should shift from cutting costs in social budgets to measuring social and financial returns on investments. Do not cut budgets devoted to social and care services, especially in times of crisis when demands for support riseâ€ť Conny Reuter, President, Social Platform.
Quality in social services should be the starting point. â€śSocial services are not about burden but about dignity. They are not a cost but an investment. It is not about people in need but about universal access for all people to services. It is not about efficiency and cost effectiveness but about qualityâ€ť said Heather Roy, Vice-President of Social Platform to the Ministers.
For Social Platform, social services are all the more crucial in times of economic recession. Not only are they a source of job generation but they are also a strategic tool to strengthen social cohesion and fight poverty.Social Platform is committed to guaranteeing access to quality social services for social and occupational integration. Equality, accessibility and affordability of social services are essential in counteracting social exclusion and ensuring that all people can be active participants in society.
Youth and Employment: the key issues are â€śquality of employment and a Youth Guarantee to be either in education, supported by social inclusion programmes, or in quality employmentâ€ť.
There is a need for change in the approach taken by the EU on growth and jobs. â€śThe negative consequences of the austerity measures in a majority of member states call for a change in the European strategy and for investment in quality jobsâ€ť said Conny Reuter, President of Social Platform.
Social Platform called all EU 27 Ministers to adopt a youth guarantee that will achieve the sustainable inclusion of youth in society and employment. â€śThe EU and its member states need to establish an inclusive and equally accessible education system that provides for the specific requirements of todayâ€™s diverse youth. Furthermore, they have to ensure that all young people - especially those who are neither in employment, nor education and training - have appropriate means to be socially includedâ€ť, said Conny Reuter.
Social Platform also demanded ministers to support quality employment in the EU. This is essential when one third of the youth is either unemployed (22,4%) or is working poor (9%). In addition, 40% of young employed people are on temporary contracts which often lead to precarious conditions and poverty. Therefore, as a starting point, Social Platform called on the member states to adopt the European Charter on Quality internship and apprenticeships developed by the European Youth Forum. Social Platform also called for the adoption of the article 19 antidiscrimination directive on access to goods and services blocked by members states in the Council for the last two years. This is essential in order to support the youth in accessing education, transport, housing which are necessary services to access the labour market.
Social Platform and its members, being social NGOs, have specific expertise on the topics of Social Services and Youth and Employment, which are directly linked to the Europe 2020 targets on social inclusion, employment and education. This makes us well placed to provide our assessment of the current situation and to put forward recommendations to relieve social services from the current pressure and to achieve the sustainable inclusion of youth in education, society and employment and the effective implementation of the Youth Guarantee.