Refer: Informal EPSCO Council 5-7 July 2007: Strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy – a new impulse for employment and social policies coordination
To: EU Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs
The Spring Council (2007) conclusion “that the growth and jobs agenda should be at the service of social cohesion” and “that the common social objectives of Member States should be better taken into account within the Lisbon Agenda” offers the challenge to establish a political project at EU level, aimed at securing social rights for all in Europe. Making visible that the EU is clearly pursuing such a political project is crucial to reinforce it’s legitimacy. The agenda set for this informal Council provides the opportunity to reinforce existing processes in order to develop a more coherent and consistent EU social agenda. We hope that you will be able to maximise this opportunity. To do so EAPN asks that you give serious consideration to the following:
1) There is a need for an active revision of all parts of the current Lisbon Integrated Guidelines, incorporating social objectives to ensure a coherent macro, micro, employment and social model within a sustainable development vision.
2) There is a need to strengthen the key processes at EU and national level to reinforce the social priority through:
Revitalizing the OMC on social protection and social inclusion and in particular the NAP inclusion, as an active national strategy and planning process. The proposal below regarding social standards could be crucial to revitalise the process.
Improving quality active stakeholder involvement, particularly from civil society and people experience poverty and social exclusion at all stages and levels of the process of the OMC and of the National Reform Programmes.
Strengthening feeding in and particularly feeding out between the National Reform Programmes and the OMC SPSI, but also with Structural Funds by introducing new tools and mechanisms and better coordination at national and EU level.
3) There is a need for an active Debate on broader options including – strengthening the EU’s role in promoting the EU social model in the world, the development of a new EU poverty programme in the context of future funding programmes, the agreement to draw up binding EU instruments on social standards. Their implementation would be carefully monitored through the inclusion part of the revitalised OMC on SPSI, and increasing the expectations of delivery on the EU year against Poverty (2010).
We hope that you will take on board our considerations in your future work on strengthening the social dimension of Lisbon.
Fintan Farrell, EAPN Director
Commissioner Spidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Mr Jan Andersson, President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the European Parliament
Ms Elise Willame, President of the Social Protection Committee
Mr Emilio Gabaglio, President of the Employment Committee