The European Semester should rebalance social and economic objectives to achieve inclusive growth and ensure decent living for people of all ages

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                
Brussels, 3 October 2013

 

Communication of the European Commission on the social dimension of European Monetary Union

 

The European Semester should rebalance social and economic objectives to achieve inclusive growth and ensure decent living for people of all ages

 

In line with the EC communication on the social dimension of the European Monetary Union, which identifies social and economic divergences among Members States as a major challenge, AGE calls on the European Commission to refocus the European Semester on Europe 2020 social objectives.

In its Communication on the social dimension of European Monetary Union (EMU) adopted on 2 October 2013, the Commission rightly points out that both social and economic divergences among Member States represent a major challenge for EMU. AGE welcomes the first proposals to deepen social integration, in particular a new scoreboard to allow for better and earlier identification of major employment and social problems. AGE calls on EU leaders to go further and address properly the social dimension of Europe 2020 by mainstreaming all its social objectives in the economic processes of the European Semester. This should ensure that progress in economic reforms will deliver social progress and improve socio-economic cohesion among Member States. The needs of the most vulnerable population groups – including a growing number of older people – must be addressed through stronger coordination of employment and social policies in line with Europe 2020 objective on inclusive growth and for the benefit of all population and age groups.  So far, national strategies to exit the crisis have been overwhelmingly driven by public finances austerity measures, often to the detriment of social objectives. “Drastic cuts have been introduced in essential programmes against poverty and long-term care services, creating  great concerns for the 150 million citizens aged 50+ living in the EU”, insists Marjan Sedmak, AGE President.

The needs of most vulnerable population groups – including a growing number of older people – must be addressed through stronger coordination of employment and social policies in line with the Europe 2020 objective on inclusive growth. In the EU context of an ageing society and a rapidly changing socio-economic environment, the European Semester should require and support Member States in bringing a comprehensive approach to both economic and social challenges, while addressing demographic ageing and meeting the needs of our ageing populations.

“The European Union is based on social rights and justice and, therefore, growth-friendly fiscal consolidation must be compatible with adequate social protection – both being equally necessary to achieve sustainable, smart and inclusive growth as set out in the Europe 2020 strategy”, highlights Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary General adding “It is older people’s well-being and dignity which are at stake!”

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Thursday 03 October 2013
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