An important fallacy lies in the perception that support needs to include employment-related measures only, while very often, people who have been out of employment for long periods of time have done so because of a number of factors which are not labour market – related. Any social and professional integration strategy needs to start from each person’s individual situation, developed in full cooperation and ownership with the person, and respond to their very different needs. Such a personalised, pathway strategy should be based on integrated Active Inclusion approaches, combining adequate income minimum support, access to affordable, quality services, and support towards inclusive labour markets.
EAPN urges the EU to adopt a unified, comprehensive framework to support the long-term unemployed, provided that such a framework:
- Is aimed primarily at the social inclusion and social participation of individuals, and at contributing to their overall wellbeing and dignity
- Is rooted in a positive vision that people want to work, to contribute and to feel useful
- Features personalised, pathway approaches, that start from individual circumstances
- Provides integrated, holistic approaches, based on Active Inclusion, and responding to complex needs which are not all employment-related
- Is designed in full cooperation and partnership with the beneficiaries, ensuring ownership of the insertion plan, and with all relevant stakeholders, particularly non-governmental organisations working with such beneficiaries.
Such a framework, based on the above principles, should be backed by political will and adequate financial resources (for example, through prioritisation in Structural Funds) and should be clearly supported within the European Semester, by documents such as the Country Reports and the Country-Specific Recommendations.