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Active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market
The Commission is hereby recommending that Member States establish an integrated and comprehensive strategy for the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market. The strategy is to be made up of three coordinated strands based on which active inclusion policies are to be implemented: sufficient income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services.
Commission Recommendation 2008/867/EC of 3 October 2008 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market [Official Journal L 307 of 18.11.2008].
With this Recommendation, the Commission is encouraging Member States to take action for the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market. To this end, the Commission recommends that the Member States draw up and implement an integrated comprehensive strategy. The strategy should be composed of the following three strands:
- sufficient income support;
- inclusive labour markets;
- access to quality services.
The actions should support the employment of those who can work, providing the resources required for a dignified life, and promote the social participation of those who cannot work.
The Member States are further recommended to ensure that the inclusion policies are effective. This should be done by:
- combining the above three strands of the strategy in an appropriate manner;
- implementing the strategy in an integrated manner across the three strands;
- coordinating the policies among authorities at local, regional, national and European Union (EU) level;
- including all relevant actors in the development, implementation and evaluation of the strategy.
In particular, the inclusion policies should take account of fundamental rights, the promotion of equal opportunities for all, the specific needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and the local and regional contexts. In addition, the inclusion policies should contribute to preventing the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
Furthermore, the Commission recommends that the Member States organise and implement active inclusion policies with the detailed set of common principles and practical guidelines put forward in the document. With regard to:
- sufficient income support, Member States should recognise and implement the right of individuals to adequate resources and social assistance as part of consistent and comprehensive efforts to fight social exclusion;
- inclusive labour markets, Member States should provide assistance for those who can work to enter or re-enter and stay in employment that best relates to their capacity to work;
- access to quality services, Member States should ensure that proper social support is given to those that require it, in order to promote social and economic inclusion.
The Member States are also recommended to ensure that the necessary resources and benefits are provided under the social protection instruments, taking into account the economic and budgetary constraints. Active inclusion measures may also be funded from the Structural Funds. Information about the rights and support measures available to all must be publicised widely, and if possible, through electronic means.
In addition, Member States should simplify administrative procedures. At the same time, access for the public to the appeals systems should be made easier.
Finally, the Commission is also recommending that the Member States take steps to enhance indicators and statistical data on active inclusion policies. The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on social protection and inclusion should be employed for monitoring and evaluating these policies on the basis of close collaboration between the Social Protection and the Employment Committees and with the support of the activities funded by the Progress programme.
The active inclusion measures should be aligned with the social cohesion objectives of the Lisbon Strategy.
Poverty and social exclusion are addressed, in particular, in the Council Recommendation 92/441/EEC of 24 June 1992 on common criteria concerning sufficient resources and social assistance in social protection systems. While this Recommendation still applies, additional measures need to be taken to implement it fully. Subsequent instruments include, among others, the OMC on social protection and inclusion and the European employment strategy. Furthermore, the persisting problems, especially in terms of poverty and joblessness, require that social protection systems are modernised and that comprehensive and integrated policies are initiated. These are the objectives of the "active inclusion" approach that complements social assistance benefits with support to enter the labour market and with access to quality services.
For further information, please visit the European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities website on active inclusion.