Social ministers agree there is a need for more coordination of economic and social policy aims

On July 11-12, European social ministers discussed how to tackle the problem of youth unemployment and the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) at the informal EPSCO meeting in Vilnius. On this occasion, we discussed the Commission’s recommendation on investing in children with the ministers of Lithuania, Greece, Italy and the Commission.

We addressed the issue of the social dimension of the EMU, when we spoke in a session to all social affairs ministers, before they discussed this topic among themselves. In line with the letter we sent to the European Council two weeks before, we pointed out the urgent need for rebalancing economic and financial policies, with social policies. We are therefore happy to see that as an outcome of the informal EPSCO, member states agreed to the need for more coordination of economic and social policies, in order for these policies not to contradict but to strengthen each other, and that the role of the EPSCO in this needs to be enhanced.

The youth unemployment rate in Europe has gone over 23% and in some countries it has even reached more than 50%. In this context, the Council Presidency, the Commission and the Social partners signed in early July a declaration of intent scheduling further action which should be taken in relation to the so-called European Apprenticeships Alliance. It was also said that further steps need to be taken to quickly proceed with the implementation of the Youth Guarantee.

In our Trio meeting, we pointed out that breaking the cycle of disadvantage requires a rights-based and integrated approach, bringing together policy agendas of social inclusion and social protection, education, health, housing, child care, equality and employment. We therefore called on the Ministers to ensure a comprehensive approach to policies for investing in children and for social investment in general. The Lithuanian minister, Algimanta Pabedinskiene, stated in the Press Conference following the informal EPSCO that European funds should be used to this end, together with national funds. This is in line with our position that financing these policies is primarily the member states’ responsibility that can only be supported by EU programmes. Considering the limited resources available under the Structural Funds and other EU programmes, member states should not use these to replace national budgets to finance social, education and health policies.

You can read our full recommendations to the ministers for social affairs and employment on Investing in Children here.

Social Platform President Heather Roy meeting Lithuanian Minister of Social Affairs and Labour

Heather Roy President of Social Platform meeting the Lithunian Minister of Social Affairs and Labour