MEPs and Social Platform ready to join forces in fight for social objectives
On May 29, we presented our position and key messages to members of the European Parliament on the social dimension of the EU Budget, economic governance and the internal market, and had an exchange of views. The discussion took place during our first bi-annual meeting this year with the Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, chaired by Pervenche BÃ©rÃ¨s.
Concerning the social dimension of the EU budget, we discussed the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) on the European structural fund, the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Union Programme for Social Change and Innovation (EUPSCI) and the Rights and Citizenship Programme. For the first three topics, we pointed out that our key focus is on the funding of the programmes, the partnership with civil society organisations and the realisation of poverty and social inclusion objectives beyond employment.
The chair of the Committee and Elisabeth Morin-Chartin - rapporteur for the ESF - both reaffirmed the importance of keeping the 25% allocation of the structural funds budget to the ESF, but mentioned how this is being jeopardised due to the opposition of member states in the Council.
For the EUPSCI there has been a proposal to integrate an extra axis in the programme, but the responsible rapporteur, Jutta Steinruck, stressed that this would only be acceptable for her if it is accompanied by additional money allocated to the whole programme, in order to safeguard the funding of the original axes.
While discussing EU economic governance, we explained how there is a need for a social pact to ensure the achievement of the social objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. Therefore, the debate on the strategy through the European semester needs to be opened up in order to allow civil society to participate in a meaningful way in all stages of the implementation.
The chair mentioned how they currently planning to influence the European semester - being the most important tool of EU policy at the moment - by developing an EP opinion before the next Annual Growth Survey for 2013 comes out.
Looking at the social dimension of the internal market, we stressed how public expenditure for social services is not a cost, but an investment on a social as well as on an economic and ecological level. In the same line, we propose to the Committee and its members to set up a specific cooperation on the return of social investments.
Our next bi-annual meeting with the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs will take place in six months time.