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Replying to the European Commission consultation on the future of EU cohesion policy, EAPN stressed the need to see structural funds as a tool not only for growth and jobs, but also for the fight against social inequalities. Noting the lack of significant steps forward with regard to 2007-2013, it makes the following recommendations for the next programming period:
- Strengthening the coherence with the EU strategy in the fight against social inclusion (OMC on Social Protection and Social Inclusion), in order to ensure that structural funds are used as an efficient tool against social exclusion;
- Putting in place a effective “social inclusion proofing” of all structural funds expenditure (including ERDF), as a way to put the new EU horizontal social clause in practice;
- Taking effective steps to make partnership with NGOs a reality, including at EU level.