The conference came at a crucial time, aiming to assess the effectiveness of the Social OMC and the way forward to make progress on social policy in the context of Europe 2020, and the new flagship platform against poverty. However, EAPN is very disappointed with the limited number of invitations sent to NGOs and the way they were distributed. Very few NGOs were directly involved and hardly any from the national level.
A strong message came from the conference about the importance of the social OMC, in the context of the flagship platform and the need for strengthening stakeholder involvement, mutual learning and implementation which would lead to concrete results. For the first time, the chairs of the three Council Committees – SPC (Social Protection Committee), EMCO (Employment Committee) and EPC (Economic Policy Committee), shared in a joint discussion about the need for integrated approaches to Europe 2020, with a genuine link between social, employment and economic (and environmental) priorities. The Chair of the EPC, indeed said that “the old way of focusing only on growth and macroeconomic policy priorities couldn’t work anymore”. Many of the academic and other inputs highlighted the key role of stakeholder involvement at national and EU level, referring specifically to EAPN and other Social NGOs. However, the input from the Commission and some of the responses did little to reassure us that there was much commitment from the Commission and the SPC representatives to the national level process.
All documents from the conference (programme, presentations, speeches are available here: http://socialsecurity.fgov.be/eu/en/news/170910.htm including Background document “EU coordination in the social field in the context of Europe 2020: Looking back and building the future” (.pdf)