Ahead of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council due to take place in Portugal on 5-7 July, the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) calls on EU Social Affairs Ministers to strengthen the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy.
“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”, declared Fintan Farrell, EAPN Director. “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.”
To do so EAPN asks the EU Social Affairs Ministers to give serious consideration to the following:
1) The need for a 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. As a result the National Reform Programmes must demonstrate clearly how they contribute to the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
2) The need to strengthen the key processes at EU and national level to reinforce the social priority through revitalising the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on social protection and social inclusion (SPSI) and in particular the National Action Plans/Inclusion.
3) The need to agree to establish a binding EU instrument aimed at ensuring access for all to high level social standards and a process to ensure an effective monitoring of progress to meet this aim.
For further information, please contact Audrey Gueudet (Information Officer) or Fintan Farrell (Director), tel. +32 2 226 58 50 – fax. +32 2 226 58 69 – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: www.eapn.org