The EU needs to step up and rescue the social pillar of Europe 2020
Yesterday the Commission published its Communication “Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth”, which acknowledged how far the EU is from reaching the poverty target with the number of people at risk of poverty remaining close to 100 million by 2020. Social Platform is calling on the Heads of State to recognise this at their meeting of March 20 as a call to renewed action and not an excuse to disengage from the target altogether.
“The setback in achieving the poverty and employment targets should in no way mean that the EU should disengage from these priorities” said Heather Roy, President of Social Platform. “On the contrary, when looking at the current trends across the member states, the social pillar should be the priority of the EU in the coming 6 years. Having 100 million in poverty in 2020 is not acceptable”.
“There shall be no excuse of whether or not a target is politically or legally binding, or whether it is the primary role of the member states or not. The social situation in the EU should be the top priority for our leaders when they meet in Brussels” said Heather Roy.
Social Platform considers that a major political commitment should be made by the Heads of State on March 20 to provide concrete actions, benchmarks and timetable to be included in the European semester to respond to the trends identified in the communication:
- There are now wide inequalities in the distribution of income in the EU: on average, the top 20% earned 5.1 times as much income as the bottom 20% in 2012
- The number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the EU increased from 114 million in 2009 to 124 million in 2012.
- Unemployment has increased sharply in Europe, from a rate of 7.1% in 2008 to a peak of 10.9% in 2013
The EU needs an inclusive strategy to ensure that it can deliver concrete results for the wellbeing of all its population.