Brussels, 5 March 2009
Social policies can help mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on the most vulnerable in Europe and on the economy as a whole, while paving the way for recovery. The 2009 'Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion', to be discussed by Employment Ministers on 9 March, focuses on the contribution of social policies in responding to the crisis, and on Member States' renewed strategies for delivering on shared EU social objectives. The report will contribute to the Spring European Council on 19-20 March.
"Solidarity is a shared European value and we need to take coordinated action to respond effectively to the social impacts of the crisis. The twin aims must be to prevent exclusion and to protect the most vulnerable. The reforms already carried out as part of our Growth and Jobs Strategy are the best foundation for our actions now," said Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. "In the short term, it is vital to safeguard household income, promote job retention and prevent long-term unemployment. At the same time, we must continue to act to make our social models sustainable in the long term."
This year's report looks at the role of social policies in an economic downturn. It also assesses the renewed national strategies which Member States presented in autumn 2008 as part of the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social policies. The report highlights the following areas on which to focus future efforts:
The Joint Report is accompanied by a set of 27 country profiles assessing the social situation and strategies for each Member State and by a Commission services working document which provides a more detailed thematic account of challenges and policy responses.
The common objectives, assessment and reporting for social protection and social inclusion – the 'Social open method of coordination' – operates in parallel with the strategy for growth and jobs. The 2009 Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion will be presented to EU leaders together with the Joint Report on Employment and will feed into the conclusions of the Spring European Council on 19-20 March.
See also MEMO/09/96
2009 Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion, supporting document and country profiles: