Unequal Europe: A more caring agenda for the new Commission

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QUALITY EUROPE Europe’s World Spring 2015 Unequal Europe: A more caring agenda for the new Commission The EU’s prized project of ‘Social Europe’ has been slipping steadily down its political agenda. Frank Vandenbroucke highlights recommendations a high-level group he chaired Declining public confidence in ability to reconcile openness and cross-border mobility with robust welfare states their generous social protection seen rising disenchantment concept ‘European solidarity’, doubts about European itself. Yet we can be confident future our states, not on basis return pre-crisis status quo, but opportunities change that are still available. Change must address widening inequalities imbalances, open way greater cohesion between EU member states. Widening imbalances are, alas, matter fact Europe now divide both people There is marked inequality good job without one. In many income poverty rising. Some countries enjoying growth, economies others sluggish. often relate skills, although some governments have invested education vocational training, forced drastically cut spending these. nevertheless significant change. We need, first all, self-confidence model. Widespread persistent misrepresentation policies too presented them as an economic burden. This view ill-founded because fundamental living standards all within modern competitive market economy. As well support fairness cohesion, vital competitiveness, crucial investment future. Over last few years, scholarly studies shown this; instance recent OECD report underlined redistributive impact growth. was Belgium’s affairs minister (1999- 2004) employment Flemish Regional Government (2004-2009). He currently professor at University Leuven holds chairs Universities Antwerp Amsterdam |69 isn’t say well. room improvement there weaknesses performance policies, labour policies. But rather than calling essence into question, need wide-ranging review balance demand supply different programmes services, costs. should backed by EU-wide effort improve states’ systems. Although responsibilities lie essentially national level, over-arching policy framework could make valuable contribution. To promote innovation strengthen Europe-wide comparisons efficiency equity outcomes, don’t start from scratch. If look laboratory learning, already instruments like Open Method Co-ordination. Australia, Canada, United States other federal quasi-federal systems take positive Co-ordination, yet it met scepticism, being perceived soft deliver, or feeble excuse inconsistency economic, budgetary Stronger credible links certainly built budgetary, therefore clarify how will ‘mainstreaming’ social, employment, empty word routinely pops up official declarations. mainstreaming tangible reality, idea mutual learning also regain credibility. approach takes us away behind-closed-doors character Parliament making joint commitment Union’s basic goals giving comprehensive rolling inequalities. help authorities own schemes ensure resources allocated most balanced possible drawing experience focus attention capacity tackle inequalities, setting-up such broad-ranging ambitious would signal seriousness which today’s Related articles www.europesworld.org • Social far dead John Monks jobless youth: evolving lifestyles drive flexibility? Helena Helve Why stop talking ‘lost generation’ young Jörg Asmussen cannot afford lose entire generation Lauri Ihalainen Heikki Räisänen 70| dialogue key component model; system institutional set-up EU, even if sometimes forgotten. There’s no denying difficulty organising level; countries, effective, efficient representative, partners lost representativeness credibility, barely exist. And financial crisis managed, notably so-called programme odds normal functioning dialogue, weakened position partners. upshot invest partners’ play meaningful role, revisiting role tripartite summit, persistently placing emphasis decentralised collective bargaining. challenge just reach agreements topical issues, challenges ahead, ways reformed. highlevel conference level hold thorough debate orientations; ‘big conference’ real exchange views involving people. successful aim priority bold action youth employment. guarantee implementation Youth Guarantee launched year ensuring under 25 – whether registered services get good-quality, concrete offer four months leaving formal becoming unemployed. On proposals put forward reinforce through initiatives better mobilisation ESF funds package replace €6bn ‘Youth Employment Initiative’ place until end this year. Complementing quality traineeships apprenticeships and/or another possibility, point develop ‘good policy’; convince citizens cares what means “ ” |71 lead ‘parking’ unemployed inefficient training occupational activities. Europeans resist protectionism forms. Mobility unquestionable right, context freedom movement, problematic issues identified addressed. Myths intra-EU systematically disproved. At same time, Court Justice confirmed simply move state claim benefits: Member prevent ‘benefit tourism’ existing legal framework. Nevertheless, blind problems; large scale dumping, blatant cases addressed illegal work exploitation linked problems inspection enforcement regulations. go beyond dumping. For people, moving country reasons represents success, failure; half London’s homeless population repeatedly made migrants, citizens, so failures free movement. An introduced protect fair mobility, ensures finance desks, information mobile workers Europe. Where possible, define minimum conditions protection, taking account forms parttime workers. carefully monitor directive posting workers, consider gradual introduction ‘a guaranteed wage floor’. measures increasing portability supplementary pensions across sectors, strengthening rights migrant examine initiative freedoms right industrial action. solve raised court decisions affecting relationship education, exerted enough pressure highest levels decision-making priorities 72| migration clear distinction intra-European permanent migration, external dimensions. Discussion placed longer-term demographic context, shrinking major source resentment immigration migrants’ nationality status. potential creating second-class workforce dangerous, flexibility market, peripheral adversely affects country’s core contributes downgrading working conditions. issue only manage flows professional integration. recognise enormous waste immigrants’ skills when they adequately integrated allowed entrepreneurship potential. confronted greatest house integrate migrants support, fund attached Fund give integration considered. Education investment. issued excellent Recommendations modernisation priorities. alarming given limited success improving education. risk seeing grinding halt. higher reverse trend diverging Simultaneously, pursue reform skill one strategy child care, health care development overall. Investment Package adopted two years ago starting point, contribution |73 deliver it, while recognising broader needed. Tangible needed, delivery. case delivery needed too. Homelessness societal problem crossborder features where co-ordination difference. disparate nature hostels shelters trigger promised delivered Platform Against Poverty, proper use Funds against homelessness. fails complex needs homelessness included One possibility Care who leave step towards Vulnerable turn 18, every 18-year-old gets plan identifies proposes appropriate solutions pursued complement Guarantee. Union stronger sense common purpose based shared ambitions. won’t easy see signs erosion solidarity generations. witnessing growing distrust fuelled part frustration lack leadership transparency institutions response current crisis. ammunition those minimise encourage withdraw altogether. Breaking vicious circle feasible. ground, short self-confidence. unequal unbalanced Europe, stand hope solemn declarations, practical day-to-day Frank.Vandenbroucke@kuleuven.be Friends Union’, article reflects “Unequal: EU”. full document downloaded http://www.friendsofeurope.org/event/unequal-europe-recommendations-caring-eu/