Social Services Europe Letter in response to AGS 2016
4th February 2016
To Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis
Dear Vice-President Dombrovskis,
Following our letter of the 21st October making recommendations to the 2016 AGS and the subsequent publication of the AGS we make a number of proposals below that we would ask you to take into account as the European Semester progresses.
Social Services Europe welcomes the recognition in the AGS 2016 that “social investment offers economic and social returns over time”, and the call on Member States to promote social investment more broadly, including in healthcare, childcare, housing support and rehabilitation services.
We trust that CSRs will also take into account the social investment approach. In addition, we reiterate our call on the European Commission to go further in ensuring essential social investment is made, by taking into account the positive impact of such investment in assessing (ex-post) possible deviations from the Stability and Growth Pact requirements, as was announced regarding the budgetary impact of refugees.
SSE welcomes the development of benchmarks and exchange of good practices across policy areas to renew the process of upward economic and social convergence. Care should be taken to ensure the process encourages countries to aim higher and facilitate improvement in social protection and services, and not inadvertently encourage Member States to settle for a minimum benchmark.
SSE also welcomes the stronger implementation and monitoring of Europe 2020 targets in the European Semester. This is essential to work towards attainment of these targets. However, we regret that a holistic approach tackling poverty and social exclusion has not been developed. We also call on the European Commission to develop a strategy to ensure that the European Semester contributes positively to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
We encourage the European Commission to continue to promote the social dimension of EU policy, as you state that the Commission is committed to in your response to our October letter. We remain at your disposal if you would like more information on our positions.
President of Social Services