26/02/2014 – On 13 November 2013, the European Commission adopted and launched the 2014 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) package and EAPN responded to it the next day through a press release, welcoming the proposals in the AGS to strengthen stakeholder involvement, but highlighting its concerns about the ‘business as usual’ approach, with few signs of a move away from counter-productive austerity priorities which are impacting negatively on poverty, exclusion and inequality.
EAPN also highlighted the need to re-focus on Europe 2020 and the targets, and to back meaningful stakeholder dialogue to ensure effective policies and reinforced democratic legitimacy. In this paper, EAPN sets out these key messages in more details.
EAPN notably recognizes that an increased effort has been made in the AGS 2014 to highlight the worsening social impact, despite the AGS overriding message of ‘progress’ made on debt and growth, and the recognition that social impact is undermining objectives and support for the EU strategy.
The network details however a series of shortfalls and 10 key recommendations.
- Put Europe 2020 and achievements of targets at heart of the AGS.
- Develop an integrated strategy to reduce poverty and social exclusion that tackles discrimination.
- Shift from austerity tosocial investment/social protection, as pre-requisites for inclusive growth.
- Make reducing inequality a new priority including inclusive tax policy.
- Implement integrated Active Inclusion to promote inclusion, ensuring adequacy of minimum income and social protection.
- Invest in quality work and road map to fight in-work poverty.
- Promote youth inclusion beyond youth employment.
- Prioritize affordable access to services, including unmet health needs.
- Increase democratic legitimacy with guidelines for meaningful stakeholder engagement.
- Implement social inclusion priorities through Structural Funds with NGO partners.