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This paper sets out to present EAPN’s views, recommendations and concrete proposals on the development of the Open Method of Coordination on social protection and social inclusion (OMC/SPSI), and in particular on the objectives for the streamlined OMC/SPSI. EAPN strongly supports the maintenance of the existing objectives for social inclusion, with some adjustment made in light of the priorities emerging from the experience gained over the past five years. These objectives are still relevant, reflecting and encompassing the key concerns in the fight against poverty.
Streamlining was introduced in the social field as a working method which would facilitate interaction, synchronisation of reporting, visibility and mainstreaming of learning across the EU in the areas of social protection, social inclusion, pensions, health and long term care. To the extent that this results in a stronger overall message regarding social policies and the role of the EU, EAPN welcomed this approach. The more recent notion of ‘feeding in’ adds to this the idea that the OMC/SPSI will contribute to the outcomes of the Lisbon agenda and that the Lisbon agenda will mainstream social concerns.
In streamlining the OMC, the issue of defining a new set of ‘common objectives’, including overarching objectives and new specific objectives to replace the existing ones covering each field of the OMC/SPSI, has recently been put forward as an obvious next step. The assumption that the objectives needed to be revisited was proposed prior to any assessment being done of the results of the social inclusion OMC/SPSI evaluation process launched in 2005, in which the relevance of the existing objectives was also to be evaluated.