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Brussels, 10 December 2012
Poverty Convention – conclusions and results
The urgency for Member States and the EU to invest in adequate, sustainable and effective social policies that strengthen human capital and social cohesion was underlined at the Second Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion. The Convention took place on 5-7 December 2012 and gathered more than 650 participants from 40 countries, representing Member States, civil society and Social Partners. Together they discussed how social policies need to be modernised with a view to the demographic challenges and the current economic and social crisis.
László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion announced the Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion: "We need to modernise the European social model so that it mobilises a larger share of Europe's human capital, while at the same time ensuring social inclusion of disadvantaged people and an adequate level of social protection. This is why the Commission will present early next year a Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion."
"The Social Investment Package will provide concrete guidance for the modernisation of welfare states, on the shape of such reforms and on how the EU can support Member States in this context."
The Commissioner outlined the priorities the Social Investment Package will address, namely:
The Commissioner highlighted that "the Commission proposal for a Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014 to 2020 has a strong social investment dimension. It proposes allocating at least 25% of Cohesion Policy funding to the Social Fund, and allocating 20% of Social Fund resources in each Member State to projects to promote social inclusion and combat poverty."
The Commissioner continued "More effective spending as part of social and employment policies also calls for stronger EU and Member State social governance. The consolidation and completion of the Economic and Monetary Union is set to strengthen this need further."
The Commissioner said "we need to work even more closely together at all relevant levels." The Convention thus gave all stakeholders the opportunity to give their views on the forthcoming Social Investment Package. Among other topics, panel discussions focused on how to strengthen stakeholder participation in the Annual Growth Survey and the European Semester. The Convention also discussed how the Structural Funds, and the ESF particularly, can contribute to the implementation of the Social Investment Package took place.
A series of workshops at the conference raised various other topics. Discussing health policies, it was agreed that investing preventively in health can save larger costs in the future.
On the gender dimension of poverty, it was highlighted that gender mainstreaming should be at the heart of the Europe 2020 governance process, as well as the EU structural funds. Women must have access to equal pay, affordable care services, and other measures to promote a work-life balance.
In the workshop for active inclusion, it was stressed that an individualised approach that puts the needs of people at the centre, and effectively integrates quality services and ensures adequate livelihoods, is the best way to promote labour market and social participation. The possibilities of using ICT effectively for e-inclusion were also discussed. ICT has an added value for both citizens, through e.g. empowering people to develop their skills, and organisations, through e.g. reaching target groups and improving coordination and monitoring.
EU Ministers and Secretaries of State discussed Member States' priorities in social policy reform, building on the outcomes from the workshops. Ministers agreed that when social policies are carefully designed they are an investment in society that leads to more growth and cohesion. Shared ownership and collective commitment with the Member States, Social Partners and civil society is needed to ensure the successful implementation of the Social Investment Package. Sound and constructive dialogue as well as joint monitoring and governance of national social reforms are essential for an integrated an streamlined approach to tackling the challenges we face. The insights of Social Partners and civil society highlighted at this Convention should continue to be drawn upon in the coming year ahead.
Full details of the Conference:
Commissioner Andor's Speech to the Conference dinner: SPEECH /12/907
Follow Commissioner Andor on Twitter: https://twitter.com/laszloandorEU