European agenda turned upside down: Commission makes everyone wait another year for EU2020 review

Last week, during the meeting of the Employment Committee (EMCO), member state representatives were informed by the European Commission that the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy – scheduled for the first half of 2015 – will be postponed for one year until spring of 2016. While this news spread quickly within European circles and a lot of speculation has been going on ever since, it is still not clear what the Commission’s reason behind this delay is.

In March 2014, the Barosso II Commission launched the preparation of the mid-term review with a Communication on taking stock of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and set a time-frame for the process: there would be a public consultation over the summertime, debates in the different Council formations, proposals from the Commission on how to review the Strategy by the beginning of 2015 and a final endorsement of the review by the spring Council of March 2015. In the meantime, Social Platform and our members, as well as many other stakeholders at EU and national levels, contributed to the public consultation, hoping for the Strategy to be improved in order to finally move forward on the EU’s poverty, employment and education targets. Member states also worked within the various Council formations to formulate their messages.

However, since March 2014 a lot of things have changed; a new Commission took office in November and formulated new commitments and initiatives such as the Juncker Investment Plan, announcing the creation of a European Investment Fund, and an upgrade of the work on the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union.

Our big concern is what this recent development will mean in terms of European policies and priorities regarding social affairs, and the fight against poverty and inequalities in particular.

What we therefore want to know is: why this extra delay? Is this Commission still too busy organising itself at the beginning of its mandate? What are its real priorities? Is the Commission breaking its commitments to the Europe 2020 targets made in 2010 by its predecessor ? What will happen with the poverty and social exclusion target of the Strategy that is far from being reached? Will the European Commission throw out Europe 2020 as a whole and come up with a completely new Strategy, say for 2030?

We urge the Commission to enlighten us about what is behind this decision to have us wait another year to review the Europe 2020 Strategy while it is in dire need of ambitious policies and actions – both at EU and national levels – in order to achieve its targets.

For further information please contact Herlinde Vanhooydonck, Policy & Advocacy Officer.