“The AGS talks of a ‘fresh start’ to deliver on President Juncker’s proposals of ‘Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’ but it appears more like ‘business as usual’, with the same focus on ‘Growth and Jobs’, rather than inclusive and sustainable growth, with an investment package delivered mainly through private investment, combined with a continuing package of restructuring labour markets and austerity measures” says EAPN’s letter to Minister for Employment and Social Affairs ahead of their EPSCO meeting on 11 December.
EAPN’s assessment of the Annual Growth Survey and Draft Joint Employment Report – 6 key messages that EAPN calls on the EPSCO Council to support:
1) Demonstrate that Europe 2020 is still relevant with the poverty target at the centre.
Make an explicit commitment to mainstream Europe 2020 and the poverty/and other social targets into the new priorities and Semester.
2) Public Investment needed to ensure quality jobs, also in social sector.
The criteria for investment projects and 20% conditionality on social inclusion and poverty in ESF, must be transparently monitored by the European Parliament, Social Ministers and DG Employment together with stakeholders to deliver on promises of quality jobs and poverty reduction.
3) Jobs alone are not a sufficient answer to poverty! Invest in social protection and services.
The EU must go beyond a ‘poor jobs’ approach, enforcing criteria for quality and sustainable job creation. It must mainstream requirements to guarantee adequate social protection and quality services, financed through inclusive tax policy, throughout the life cycle, and by developing an explicit integrated strategy to fight poverty.
4) Reinforcing social standards, not austerity and a competitive race to the bottom.
Give priority to reinforcing social rights and social standards as basis for an inclusive and sustainable growth strategy. Develop a road map to progress on guarantees for an adequate minimum income across the life cycle through an EU Directive on minimum income and EU framework on minimum wages.
5) Put Social and Economic Indicators on a par – with impact on policy!
Confirm commitment to real evidence-based policy-making with effective social impact assessment, putting social and economic indicators and actors on an equal footing, and make the EP partners to decisions.
6) Make Civil Society partners to design and monitor policy not just to implement it.
Confirm CSOs and people with direct experience of poverty as equal partners in meaningful stakeholder engagement in the Semester, and develop obligatory EU guidelines to ensure quality engagement at every stage: design, monitoring as well as delivery. Facilitate financial support to CSOs ensure equal participation, particularly through the European Semester Officers.