Archive pour la catégorie ‘Social Affairs’

EU listens to people experiencing poverty to help improve their lives

Vendredi 16 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the overall Community programme for employment and social solidarity actions
 Grants for transnational projects focusing a better understanding of social exclusion, poverty and social protection
 Grants supporting the operating costs of European NGOs primarily active in the fight against discrimination, social exclusion, poverty, racism, promoting of gender equality and integration of disabled people and Roma people

Around 200 Europeans on the front line of the battle against social exclusion will today meet EU and national policy makers in Brussels for a direct dialogue

They will discuss issues ranging from minimum income to housing, social services and services of general interest. The annual event aims to include marginal groups in the process of seeking solutions and building policies to improve their lives.

Poverty and exclusion remain significant challenges in the European Union, with 16% of the population at risk of poverty. The EU’s latest Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion emphasised that social protection reforms and active inclusion policies have contributed to higher growth and more jobs in Europe over the past year. However, more still needs to be done to ensure that the benefits of an improved economic framework reach those at the margins of society and improve social cohesion.

The EU’s Open Method of Coordination provides a framework for action by Member States by promoting the development of national strategies and policy coordination between Member States on poverty and social exclusion issues. Participation by actors such as NGOs, social partners and local and regional authorities is an important part of this process.

Today’s event will welcome over 200 participants, including delegations of people experiencing poverty from 27 countries, together with representatives of national governments, EU institutions and European NGOs. The event, which will continue tomorrow, is jointly organised together with the Slovene Presidency of the EU and the European Anti-Poverty Network.

  More information:
DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

EU has a key role in fostering social success

Lundi 5 mai 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of the overall Community programme for employment and social solidarity actions

This is the theme at the two-day conference on ‘Responding to new social realities’ taking place in Brussels today

The event, bringing together all EU and national players, sets the stage for a new Communication on the EU Agenda for Opportunities, Access and Solidarity, planned for June 2008.

One of the starting points of the Conference is the Social Agenda adopted in 2005 which set out the EU’s roadmap for modernising the European social model: “A social Europe in the global economy: jobs and opportunities for all”. The Social Agenda forms part of the integrated European approach towards growth and jobs known as the Lisbon Strategy.

The Lisbon Strategy has helped to speed up reform and raise the EU’s performance, with 17 million new jobs created since 2000. Millions of Europeans have seized the opportunities offered by the single market to live, study, work or retire in another Member State. The EU has put in place a robust framework of workplace rights. But there is no room for complacency.

16% of Europeans, including 19 million children, remain at risk of poverty. Women’s pay continues to lag behind men’s by 15%. And new challenges have emerged. Rapid technological change is widening the gap between the skilled and unskilled. Socio-economic factors are the cause of major health inequalities. Social protection and health systems have to adapt to demographic change and the needs of the EU’s ageing population. The difficulties that young people face, including access to jobs and affordable housing, have raised fears that today’s generation of young Europeans may not enjoy the same standard of living as their parents.

Against this background, the Commission launched an EU-wide “Social Reality Stocktaking” exercise in 2007. The consultation aimed to take stock of the changes underway in European societies. A broad range of views on current social trends, as well as on the implications of changing social relationships has emerged. Building on the initial results of the consultation, the Commission adopted a Communication on Opportunities, Access and Solidarity in November 2007[3] which sets out an initial range of possible responses to the challenges faced by the European Union.

Today’s Conference on responding to new social realities will provide a platform to Member States, European institutions, social partners, civil society and experts to discuss current social trends and to contribute to the development of a renewed EU agenda based on “Opportunities, Access and Solidarity” to be adopted by the Commission in June 2008.

The Conference will be opened by Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and closed by President Barroso.

Over 350 delegates attending the conference will have the chance to:

- learn about opportunities and challenges faced by the European citizens in a changing world and innovative solutions to new social risks
- connect with leading authorities from the European Union and overseas
- engage with stakeholders and other actors active in the social field
- stimulate discussion and debate on topical issues affecting European citizens

The conference will be structured around three working groups:

- New policy responses to changing challenges
- A changing configuration of roles and responsibilities of actors
- The role of the EU in delivering opportunities, access and solidarity.

OPEN DAYS 2008: ‘Regions and cities in a challenging world’

Jeudi 24 avril 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support the improving of employment and social inclusion
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support projects for growth and jobs creation in the least favoured regions of the Member States
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to sustainable regional development in the least favoured regions of the Member States
 Support for investment of economic public and private actors in order to reinforce competitiveness, attractivity of regions and employment

‘Regions and cities in a challenging world’ is the theme of OPEN DAYS 2008, announced today by Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, and Luc Van den Brande, President of the EU Committee of the Regions.

The sixth edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities, OPEN DAYS, will be held in Brussels from 6 to 9 October. This year, 217 regions and cities from 32 countries have signed up as partners, and participants are expected from many other countries. There will be 120 events in Brussels and around 250 local events all over Europe during OPEN DAYS, which has become the most important annual gathering of EU and regional policy-makers, experts and representatives of banking, business and civil society groups.

The event will enable participants to share their first experiences of implementing 345 Cohesion Policy programmes for 2007-2013 at local and regional level, with investment of about EUR 500 billion of EU and national funds. The debate about the policy’s future after 2013 is in full swing, and the Commission is expected to adopt an important Green Paper on territorial cohesion just before OPEN DAYS.

The OPEN DAYS 2008 seminars and debates will focus on four themes:

* Innovating regions: Promoting research, technological development and innovation;
* Sustainable development: Regional responses to climate change;
* Cooperation and networking: Exchange of best practice in regional development;
* Looking forward: A European cohesion policy for tomorrow.

Attracting about 5,000 regional and local experts to Brussels, OPEN DAYS 2008 is organised jointly by the European Commission’s Regional Policy Directorate-General and the Committee of the Regions. Partner regions and cities from 26 Member States are represented, along with others from Turkey, Croatia, Norway, Switzerland and – for the first time – Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland. France has registered the highest number of partners, 22, followed by Italy and Spain (19), the United Kingdom (18), and Poland (17). In addition, representatives from other countries, including China, Russia, Brazil and Serbia are expected to contribute to the event, along with international organisations. OPEN DAYS will also be an opportunity for private companies, financial institutions and civil society organisations to get together with regional stakeholders. The European Investment Bank, Businesseurope, the European employers’ organisation, Siemens, General Electric, Philips, Veolia and the European Citizen Action Service will be among organisations represented at the “Investors Café”, the event’s exhibition and meeting area.

Press Room - European Commission
  More information:
Open Days

COTER Commission gets onto EU-China cooperation in the field of regional policy

Vendredi 18 avril 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support for investment of economic public and private actors in order to reinforce competitiveness, attractivity of regions and employment
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support the improving of employment and social inclusion
 Grants for the creation and management of networks for best practices exchange on economic modernisation and increased competitiveness

The members of the Territorial Cohesion Policy Commission (COTER) met on April, 17th et have talked about EU-China cooperation in the field of regional policy with Graham Meadows, former general director of DG REGIO

Commitee of the Region

EU and Mexico broaden cooperation to include employment and social affairs

Jeudi 17 avril 2008

Vladimír Špidla, EU Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner, will today travel to Mexico to start a new EU-Mexico dialogue on employment and social policy

The two sides will share knowledge and experiences on common challenges such as combating poverty and improving social cohesion. It is the first time the EU and Mexico extend cooperation to the social field and is a follow-up to the Association Agreement concluded in 1997.

The new sectoral dialogue on social and employment issues will kick off with a joint seminar on how employment can help reduce poverty and improve social cohesion. The seminar also aims to help identify common challenges and future themes for cooperation. These could, for example, include the EU’s ‘active inclusion’ approach to combining adequate support for families with better access to services and training for employment; extending social security coverage; and tackling undeclared work.
During his visit (18-21 April), Commissioner Špidla will meet with the Secretary of Employment and Social Provision, Mr Lozano and the Under Secretary of Social Development, Mr Velez, and will inaugurate the first joint seminar. In addition, Commissioner Špidla will make a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Patricia Espinosa. He will also go to the state of Chihuahua to see first hand how social development is promoted at local level. Finally, the Commissioner will meet with the Social Security Committee of the Mexican Congress.

The visit comes ahead of the Lima Summit on 16-17 May where the EU will discuss social cohesion issues, among others, with the Latin American and Caribbean region as a whole.

Press room - European Commission
  More information:
Employment and Social Affairs DG website

Conference on the Future of Cohesion Policy for a Cohesive and Competitive EU with Simplified and Effective Policies

Lundi 7 avril 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Loans for the less wealthy countries of the European Union
 Support for investment of economic public and private actors in order to reinforce competitiveness, attractivity of regions and employment
 Support to cooperation between European regions
 Grants in the framework of national sectoral or regionalised programmes to support the improving of employment and social inclusion

At the Conference on the Future of Cohesion Policy taking place in Maribor within the framework of the Slovenian Presidency, all major stakeholders involved in the area of cohesion policy gathered

The introductory session, at which a number of EU institutions as well as social partners and civil society representatives expressed their views, showed strong support for the solidarity principle and for cohesion policy as one of the integrative policies which not only reduces development disparities but also strengthens the competitiveness of the EU as a whole. At the same time, some representatives called for the modernisation of cohesion policy, particularly as regards delivery mechanisms. The debate by the Member States, which will continue until tomorrow afternoon, will highlight the extent to which this view is shared by the Member States, especially as regards the scope and objectives of cohesion policy.

The conference, which represents part of the broader debate on the future of the EU budget, was opened by Slovenian Minister Ivan Žagar and EU Commissioner Danuta Hübner. Their assessment of cohesion policy performance thus far has been very positive, as the growth of a number of less developed regions and Member States is significantly above the EU average. There is little doubt that cohesion policy played an important role in contributing to this objective. This attitude was strongly supported by the European Parliament, represented by MEP Jan Olbrycht, who argued that there could be no Union without strong cohesion-oriented policies.

In looking toward the future, it was noted that the challenges of globalisation and demographic and climate changes, as well as possible enlargement of the EU will continue to provide a fundamental rationale for strong cohesion policy. It is not just that development disparities among the regions and Member States will remain a challenge in the foreseeable future, but also that the above-mentioned challenges will require profound restructuring and adaptation, especially in regions at an intermediate level of development.

On the other hand, the participants expressed the need to further simplify and modernise implementation mechanisms, if need be through profound reform. On this issue there is less consensus among the EU institutions whether more fundamental reform is really needed, however this might be expressed more emphatically by the Member States.

Minister Žagar concluded that cohesion policy is a typical policy with the capacity to provide a response at the right level, i.e. through a bottom-up initiative and strategic approach at the same time. Furthermore, in order to ensure cohesion in the EU, the convergence objective mentioned in the Treaty needs to be taken into account in the designation of other EU policies, as only in this way is it realistically possible to expect a genuine impact at the EU level – a proclamation fully in line with the slogan of the Slovenian Presidency: “Si.nergy for Europe”.

Slovenian Presidency of the EU

tripartite Social Summit

Vendredi 14 mars 2008

EU leaders and social partners debate next steps for Growth and Jobs

At today’s Tripartite Social Summit, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša – current President of the European Council – discussed with high-level employers’ and workers’ representatives the progress made under the EU’s Growth and Jobs Strategy. The leaders of EU institutions and social partners also addressed the priorities for the next three-year cycle of the Lisbon Strategy, the social consequences of climate change and energy dependency as well as topics on the social dialogue agenda for the coming months.

Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and representatives of the future French and Czech Council Presidencies also participated in the top-level meeting.

The European social partners (ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME) announced the agenda for social dialogue in the months to come. In particular, they committed themselves to “undertake joint action to better achieve the aims of the Parental Leave Directive”. This will be part of wider work on reconciliation touching also on other forms of leave for family reasons, working arrangements and care infrastructure.

As follow-up of their Joint Analysis of European labour markets published last October, the European social partners also announced that they will negotiate an autonomous agreement which will aim at “facilitating access to and progression in the labour market for disadvantaged groups through a series of preventative and curative measures including lifelong learning”.

The Tripartite Social Summit meets at least once a year, ahead of the Spring European Council, in order to allow for an exchange of views between the social partners, the Commission and the Heads of Government and employment ministers of the current and the two following Council Presidencies (”troika”). The agenda is always closely linked to the items discussed later by the Heads of State and Government at their Spring meeting.

Press Room - European Commission
  More information:
European Social Dialogue