Member states urged to take EU2020 strategy 'seriously' (theparliament.com)
European council president Herman Van Rompuy says that further action is "clearly needed" on meeting the much-vaunted EU 2020 targets.
He also urged member states to take their commitments to the strategy "seriously".
The EU2020 strategy aims to promote jobs and growth and replaced the Lisbon Agenda whose objective was to make the EU the world's most dynamic economy by the end of 2010.
Van Rompuy was speaking at the general assembly of Social Platforms, an alliance of representative European federations and networks of non-governmental organisations active in the social sector.
The former Belgian prime minister was addressing a debate called 'Implementing EU social objectives to ensure an inclusive and sustainable recovery'.
Conny Reuter, president of Social Platform, told the meeting that, "Our members have been concerned that the debate at the EU level is being led by just the financial dimension and the social dimension is being lost."
She added, "Besides the treaty on fiscal consolidation there is a necessity for a new social pact to ensure cohesion throughout the EU on social issues.
"We must defend the EU social model to ensure citizens are properly invested."
The assembly highlighted the need to include a "social pillar" in economic governance; support the creation of quality jobs; invest in equality and ensure that the internal market supports and enables the development of social services and social enterprises.
Further comment came from Heather Roy, deputy president of Social Platform, who said, "Social services of general interest are essential for ensuring social inclusion and social cohesion in the EU.
"But we are appalled that in the context of so called austerity policies that essential services are being targeted.
"It was not over investment in social services that caused the crisis but it is these systems that are being targetedâ€™.
In response, Van Rompuy said that "after tackling the financial crisis and sovereign debt crisis now we have breathing space to tackle these issues".
He added, "How we protect the most vulnerable in society is a huge challenge for us all.
"Member states must take their commitments to the EU 2020 strategy targets seriously and it is the job of the European council to remind member states of their commitments."
Referring to the civil society representatives at the meeting, "You must make your voice heard about the future of Europe."