On 14 May 2019, EAPN organised a roundtable to facilitate an exchange between some of its national members and the corresponding social attachés in the Permanent Representations in Brussels, as well as the European Commission. The event was kindly hosted by the Permanent Representation of Romania to the European Union, country which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the European Council.
The roundtable allowed for a reflection on the first part of the European Semester of 2019, looking at the Autumn and Spring Packages as a starting point, based on EAPN’s comprehensive assessment and lessons learned from our wide membership directly on the ground. The timing was well-chosen: right after the Sibiu summit, looking at the future of Europe, and right before the European Parliament elections, which will shape the next 5 years of EU policy. The European Semester for social and economic coordination is the key current process for the joint development and implementation of social and sustainable strategies for the European Union, within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, now a crucial instrument for implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. EAPN has been closely engaging with the Open Methods of Coordination (OMC) (Social and Economic) since 2000, at both an EU and national levels, in order to try to ensure delivery on poverty reduction, social rights, and participation of civil society in decision making. Ownership by stakeholders, including people experiencing poverty and their civil society organisations, is a key goal, recently codified by Recital 11 of the Employment Guidelines, which provides a legal basis for non-governmental organisations to be treated as key partners. The European Pillar of Social Rights constitutes the social legacy of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in his ambition to guarantee a Social Triple A for Europe during his tenure, hence its implementation through the European Semester is key.
The event thus provided the perfect opportunity to launch EAPN’s assessment of the Country Reports 2019, and to present its key messages, as well as EAPN’s alternative proposals for Country-Specific Recommendations. Speakers from EAPN Romania, Finland, Portugal, and Belgium presented their own country analysis and reaction to the Country Report and the National Reform Programme, as well as provided an overview of their engagement with these processes at national level. The presentations were followed by responses by the social attachés and DG Employment representatives, and by a joint discussion about how to move forward on achieving poverty reduction through the European Semester and a strong implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, as well as about putting in place strong participation mechanisms, to ensure a meaningful partnership with civil society in these processes, at the EU and national levels, in accordance with Recital 11 of the Employment Guidelines.
Information & Documents
- EAPN’s assessment of the Country Reports 2019 and proposals for Country-Specific Recommendations 2019
- Agenda of the round table
- Presentations: EAPN Europe, EAPN Finland, EAPN Belgium, AGE Platform Europe
- Photographs of the event
- Short report (to follow soon)
For more information about this event, please contact Amana Ferro, EAPN Senior Policy Officer, Tel. +32 2 226 58 50