15/12/2016 – EAPN presents its Analysis of the 2017 Annual Growth Survey and Joint Employment Report. This follows EAPN’s letter to President Juncker presenting EAPN’s proposals for the AGS 2017, which were based on our members’ review of the Semester and the NRPs 2016.
Although the main message from the AGS 2017 is the importance of strengthening competitiveness, innovation and productivity as part of Europe’s economic recovery, EAPN welcomes the support given to promote ‘social fairness’ as a means to deliver more ‘inclusive growth’ and “achieve an economic recovery that benefits all, notably the weaker parts of our societies, and strengthens fairness and social dimension”.
However, the lack of explicit mention of the European Pillar of Social Rights however, and the repetition of almost the same three priorities as in 2014 and 2015: 1) boosting investment, 2) pursuing structural reforms and 3) ensuring responsible fiscal policies, with no explicit social priority, raises serious concerns about whether this marks a real change in the EU’s overall economic approach, or if it will just be business as usual.
In order for these ‘good intentions’ to be put into practice – 5 signs must be given:
- Prioritise Inclusive Growth by rebalancing economic and social objectives
- Increase social investment in quality jobs, public services and social protection
- Mainstream the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights explicitly through the European Semester
- Develop an integrated EU poverty strategy to deliver on the Europe 2020 poverty target
- Make civil society equal partners at national and EU level