Strengthening members’ engagement in the European Semester 2020 and 2021
The capacity building webinar
On 19 November 2020, EAPN organised a Capacity Building webinar with members to support exchange, learn and investigate ways to strengthen EAPN’s engagement in the European Semester 2021. The event was chaired by Martina Brandstätter, EAPN Austria, Co-Chair of the EU Inclusion Strategies Group. EAPN members can watch the recording of the webinar and access all presentations in the Members’ Room (EUIS Group Documents / Materials from webinars/capacity buildings/conferences).
The webinar provided basic information about the relevance and functioning of the European Semester, its main stages, deliverables and timelines. It was a platform for EAPN members to learn about the main changes of the European Semester Cycle 2021 and what they imply for possibilities for a structured and meaningful engagement of EAPN Members. On this aspect we could welcome Filip Tanay from the European Commission, Teamleader, Unit EMPL A.1 “Employment and Social aspects of the European Semester”, DG EMPL. He elaborated on the possibilities and provisions for better involving EAPN members in the process and on what the European Commission could do to support this participation. The roughly 30 participants from 14 countries and 16 member organisations also looked into the key contents of the EAPN European Semester Toolkit 2020 and how it can support EAPN’s National Networks and European Organisations with regard to the inputs and monitoring of the outcomes of the European Semester process. The mutual learning was inspired by three presentations by EAPN members. Paula Cruz (EAPN Portugal), Ryszard Szarfenberg (EAPN Poland) and Rimgailė Baltutė (EAPN Lithuania) who informed participants how their national networks have used the European Semester to influence their governments.
What is the European Semester?
The European Semester is the main EU-process for the joint development, implementation and monitoring of economic, social, employment and sustainable policy strategies for the EU. It has operated since 2010 within the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy. One of the two strands is thematic coordination relevant for the fight against poverty and social exclusion, including on social protection, minimum income, in-work poverty, education and training as well as for health, social care and housing policies. The European Semester has become a crucial instrument for implementing the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). Other relevant EU-level policy and monitoring frameworks implemented through the European Semester include – since last year’s cycle – the European Green Deal (EGD), and the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) – since this year. EAPN has been strongly involved in relevant European Semester processes from the start, building on a regular exchange with our members. More information on the European Semester and EAPN’s work can be found in the Concept Note.