MEPs want social policies moved back to top of EU agenda

During its meeting of 26 February, the European Parliament’s (EP) Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) adopted a draft report on the employment and social aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2015 (AGS). Social Platform welcomes the report as it reflects many of our concerns and recommendations regarding the AGS as well as the European Semester and the social targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy. With this report, the members of the Committee are making it clear that they want to see social policies moved back to the top of the agenda of European decision-makers.

The draft report again highlights the numbers demonstrating that the EU is failing to deliver on tackling the high levels of unemployment as well as poverty and social exclusion across member states. To remedy this situation, the EMPL Committee is putting forward clear recommendations. This includes calls on the European Commission for the promotion of social investment that includes investment in sustainable social protection systems, social services, and in the social economy. Looking at the Investment Plan that was presented by the Commission alongside the AGS and the proposal to create a European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), the EMPL Committee would like to see a specialist on social policies appointed to the expert committee of the fund that will decide which projects should be supported by the fund, to ensure that positive social impact is one of the selection criteria.

The report also reiterates the important role of different stakeholders including civil society organisations in the formulation, monitoring and implementation of economic and social priorities in the European Semester, and calls for developing concrete guidelines to organise their structured involvement and ensure a strengthened democratic legitimacy.

The report will now go to the EP plenary and is up for discussion by all parliament members on 11 March.