Social investment package
The European Commission presented its Social Investment Package: Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion on 20 February 2013 to address the growing risk of poverty and social exclusion arising from the crisis.
Since 2008 the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion has increased in 18 Member States. President Barroso in his 2012 State of the Union address warned of the 'real social emergency' in some parts of Europe, with rising poverty and massive levels of unemployment.
In response, the Commission’s Social Investment Package addresses the themes:
- social policy budgets, their sustainability and adequacy
- stronger links between social assistance and activation measures
- trans-generational policies that address the needs of children
- strengthening people's skills and capacities
- spending more effectively and efficiently, particularly the European Social Fund
László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, recently stated that the package is: 'grounded on the idea that social policies should empower people from an early age, strengthen their capabilities to adapt to risks such as changing career patterns, new working conditions or an ageing population and enhance their opportunities to participate in society across the life course'.
Commissioner Andor was speaking at Eurofound’s Foundation Forum 2013, which had the theme ‘Social and employment policies for a fair and competitive Europe’.
Eurofound has also produced a considerable amount of research relevant to the Social Investment Package. Among the major elements are:
- The third European Quality of Life Survey is the basis for the report Quality of life in Europe: Impacts of the crisis, which provides detailed analysis of living standards and deprivation, social exclusion, public services and the quality of society. There is also a short video of survey headline findings and in-depth data available on Eurofound’s Survey Mapping Tool. Further analysis and publication of data from the survey continues through 2013.
- The issue of young people not in employment education or training (NEET) is the focus of two recent Eurofound reports. The NEETS report on Characteristics, costs and policy responses in Europe looks at the issue across Europe and calculates the cost at €153 billion or 1.2% of GDP in Europe. The report Effectiveness of policy measures to increase the employment participation of young people examines the effectiveness of employment policy for young people in selected Member States
- Sustainable work and the ageing workforce is an output of the fifth European Working Conditions Survey which finds that national socio-political and institution models have an important bearing on motivation to remain at work.
- In relation to active inclusion, there is the resource pack All aboard – leaving social exclusion behind and a specific report on Active inclusion of young people with disabilities or health problems
- Childcare and supports for parents feature in the forthcoming Parenting support in Europe report for which the executive summary is available. There is also an info sheet on the topic.
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