Social Policy News in Brief

 

12 April: Activity rate improvement

The slow but consistent recovery of the EU’s economy continues, accompanied by a gradual increase in the employment rate and a gradual decline in the unemployment rate, according to the new edition of the EU Employment and Social Situation- Spring 2016 Quarterly Review. In particular, it looks at the evolution of activity rates (or labour market participation) of different age groups. The activity rate of those aged 55-59 has now approached the overall 15-64 (working age) activity rate. The activity rate of those aged 60-64 has also increased and is now very close to the activity rate of young people aged 15-24 years for the first time in decades. For the first time in decades: The activity rate of those aged 60-64 is now very close to that of young people aged 15-24 years.

29 March: 20 million poor EU children

Children are more likely to live in poverty than adults. Almost twenty million children in Europe, more than 1 child in 5, live below the poverty threshold (a poverty rate of 21.1 % compared to 16.3 % among people over 18 years old). Since the economic crisis, child poverty has increased in most EU countries. Specific attention should be given to children living in low-income families, to guarantee equal opportunities for all children and to break the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. Living in poverty often means limited access to health care, higher risk of school drop-out and later unemployment and poverty, and not reaching one’s full potential in general.

 

21 March: First inclusive growth convention

Taking over from the annual European Platform Against Poverty annual conventions, the first convention for inclusive growth brought together in Brussels policy makers and civil society to discuss what the EU can do to ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth. The EU needs to step up its efforts to develop, along with Member States, long-term solutions to improve its social dimension by fighting against poverty, reducing unemployment and making sure no one is left behind. The one-day event kicked off with a discussion on the European Pillar of Social Rights initiative and moved on to debates in participatory workshops about specific issues that need work if the EU is to deliver sustainable, long-term inclusive growth.

Participatory convention: Brussels policy makers and civil society discussed how to ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth.

17 March: First social finance deal

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Société financière de la NEF have signed the first Social Entrepreneurship guarantee agreement aimed at supporting more than 300 social enterprises in France under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). This new guarantee agreement allows La NEF to provide a total of €33 million to over 300 micro and social entrepreneurs, many of whom face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources.

Social entrepreneurs including fair trade producers, organic farmers and micro-borrowers in the renewable energy sector will be able to benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate, without providing collateral under the EU supported programme.

 

8 March: Social rights consultation is on

The European Commission presented a first outline of the European Pillar of Social Rights and launched a broad public consultation to gather views and feedback from other European institutions, national authorities and parliaments, social partners, stakeholders, civil society, experts from academia and citizens. This online consultation will run until the end of 2016.

The European Pillar of Social Rights will set out a number of essential principles to support well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems within the euro area.

Stakeholders: The European Commission is gathering views on a future European Social Pillar.

The European Commission presented a targeted revision of the rules on posting of workers in order to facilitate the provision of services across borders while ensuring fair competition and respect for the rights of posted workers, who are employed in one Member State and sent to work temporarily in another by their employer. The initiative aims at ensuring fair wage conditions and a level playing field between posting and local companies in the host country. The targeted revision will introduce changes in three areas: remuneration of posted workers; rules on temporary work agencies; and long-term posting.

 

21 January: Investing in people is key

The Employment and Social Developments in Europe 2015 review reveals further positive employment and social developments in the EU.

However, despite recent improvements huge disparities still exist between Member States, in terms of economic growth, employment and other key social and labour market indicators. Many of these disparities are linked to an underutilisation of human capital on several fronts. The 2015 ESDE report looks at ways of tackling these disparities, focusing in particular on job creation, labour market efficiency, social protection modernisation and investment in people.

Source: Social Agenda – No44 – 06/ 2016

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