Social investment package
The European Commission’s social investment package is a series of measures designed to help address the growing risk of poverty and social exclusion resulting from the ongoing economic crisis in Europe. The package was issued on 20 February 2013 in the form of a Communication entitled Social Investment Package: Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion (160Kb PDF).
In this document, the Commission urges EU Member States to place more emphasis on what it terms ‘social investment’ by enhancing a person’s skills and supporting their participation in society and in the labour market. The Commission believes that this will raise each person’s standard of living, as well as boosting the economy and helping the EU to emerge successfully from the crisis.
The initiative comes as a reaction to the rise – evident since the start of the crisis in 2008 – in the number of people in the EU who are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. These problems are closely linked to high levels of unemployment.
The social investment package focuses on a number of central issues, including making sure that social protection systems respond to people’s needs at critical moments throughout their lives. It calls for the provision of simpler and better targeted social policies to provide adequate and sustainable social protection systems. It points to the urgent necessity of upgrading active inclusion strategies in the Member States: such as affordable quality childcare and education, prevention of early school-leaving, and training and job-search assistance. Housing support and accessible health care are all policy areas with a strong social investment dimension.
The Communication was accompanied by a range of documents, including:
- a Commission Recommendation Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage (134Kb PDF);
- a staff working document on demographic and social trends, split into Part I (1.53Mb PDF) and Part II (1.83Mb PDF);
- a staff working document (651Kb PDF) on the 2008 Commission Recommendation on active inclusion for people excluded from the labour market;
- a staff working document (250Kb PDF) on how the European Social Fund could contribute to implementing the social investment package.
Eurofound has carried out a range of projects that are relevant in this area, including the report Quality of life in Europe: Impacts of the crisis. The report provides a detailed analysis of living standards and deprivation, social exclusion, public services and the quality of society. In addition, the issue of young people ‘not in employment education or training’ (NEET) is the focus of two Eurofound reports. The first 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 second report Effectiveness of policy measures to increase the employment participation of young people examines the impact of employment policy on the situation of young people in selected Member States.