IN THE HEART OF THE EUROPEAN AGENDA (EUROPEAN SOCIAL OBERVATORY)

IN THE HEART OF THE EUROPEAN AGENDA (EUROPEAN SOCIAL OBERVATORY)

The European Social Observatory (OSE ) in October 2014 has published a report entitled “Putting the fight Against Poverty and social exclusion at the heart of the EU agenda: a contribution to the Mid – Term Review of the Europe 2020 Strategy” , whose authors are Hugh Frazer of the University of Maynooth (Ireland ), Anne -Catherine and Eric MarlierGuioof the CEPS / INSTEAD Research Institute ( Luxembourg), Bart Vanherckeof the European Social Observatory ( OSE , Belgium) and Terry Ward of the Brussels -based Applica Research Company ( Belgium).

The report stemsfrom the finding of the difficulties and the lack of results of European planning for poverty reduction and equality. As we read in the introduction, in March 2014, the European Commission launched a mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy Communication “Balance of Europe 2020”. The review has provided an important opportunity to assess progress towards the main goal of 2020 to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020 and implement measures to strengthen the European Union in the efforts of Member States to achieve this goal. The EU Council has recognized that progress towards the EU target has not materialized and has emphasized that “the current situation requires greater determination forthe Europe 2020 Strategy, deepening the effort towards this goal. It is important that Member States strengthen their efforts to contribute to this essential commitment of the EU “. Similarly, the newly elected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, announcing the new Commission guidelines, has highlighted the weakness of the social part of the EU and the need to fight against inequality. In his remarks, he said: “I am a firm believer in social market economy. But it is not possible during a crisis, owners and speculators have become even richer, while pensioners can no longer support themselves”.

The report indicates that the social dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy has been disappointing and that urgent measures are needed to achieve the goal of reducing social exclusion in the EU. Defining what is necessary to activate new changes is a key challenge according to the authors. The report aims to contribute and enrich the debate about the best way totake up this challenge. It explains how the challenge of combating poverty and social exclusionhave been faced and it reviews what it has actually happened in recent years, with a detailed comparison of countries. Looking to the future, it suggests which key policies and programs would be useful to be implementedin the EU and the Member States, as well as key issues to be addressed for a good evaluation of social policies and its results.

The documents are available on the following websites:

 www.ose.be

http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/europe-2020-in-a-nutshell/index_es.htm