“The CSRs are without doubt the dominant EU policy mechanism. The trouble is that nobody understands who decides on the priorities and why the overriding priority continues to be macroeconomic, focused on reducing deficits, austerity and competiveness, which are generating increased poverty and inequality, rather than progress on the 2020 poverty target. This just continues to undermine support for this process. The Commission should be aware that there is growing resistance to CSR implementation, unless grassroots organizations who believe in the EU project can see some real progress this year!”, said Sérgio Aires, EAPN President.
“We believe that the Semester can deliver results, but only if NGOs and other stakeholders are engaged at the national level in meaningful dialogue about what is really going on regarding poverty and tackling the negative social impact of the macroeconomic CSRs, with concrete positive CSRs where poverty is not reducing. This requires an integrated anti-poverty strategy, developed together with stakeholders to deliver on the target”, Sérgio Aires added.
Poverty has increased by over 6 million since 2010 to 124,5 million people, despite the Europe 2020 target to reduce poverty by at least 20 million by 2020. As the EU prepares for the Mid-Term Review, a strong positive message of the potential of the Semester to deliver on inclusive growth is needed. To this end, 2014 CSRs must show a significant shift to a more balanced economic and social approach, with more anti-poverty CSRs and a coherent overall approach to ensure progress on inclusive and sustainable growth.
The Key Messages from the Assessment of the 2013 Country-Specific Recommendations are:
- Negative CSRs still overwhelmingly outweigh the more positive social ones.
- CSRs are being implemented, but more attention is paid to macroeconomic CSRs, and by countries who have higher deficits.
- Austerity continues as the dominant strategy, although some positive developments are noted on some national anti-poverty strategies, social investment and youth guarantee.
- Individual positive recommendations are undermined by lack of overarching, integrated anti-poverty strategy and adequate funding support.
- Civil society is not meaningfully involved in the CSRs or the European Semester process, undermining credibility, democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of policy solutions.
12 Priority Areas for CSRs to Reduce Poverty
- Ensure coherent economic and social policy: preventing austerity penalizing the poor.
- Require a comprehensive long-term strategy to fight poverty with effective targets.
- Tackle inequality, including through tax justice.
- Guarantee Adequate Income Support across the life cycle, for all groups.
- Promote quality of work and employment, through decent jobs and inclusive labour markets.
- Mainstream integrated Active Inclusion into all areas.
- Promote an inclusive education system, tackling segregation and ensuring equal access for all.
- Implement Youth Guarantee and support Youth Inclusion, beyond employment.
- Tackle Homelessness and promote social housing.
- Ensure equal access to health to reduce rising unmet health needs
- Require meaningful participation and stakeholder involvement, including civil society
- Support effective use of EU Funds for Poverty Reduction through partnership approaches involving civil society
Notes for the editor:
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