In addition to the three main EU policy processes affecting social services, there are several other areas of key interest.
- Europe 2020 Strategy
- European Pillar of Social Rights
- Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development
- Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
- Access to Services for Migrants with Disabilities
- Person-Centred Technology
Europe 2020 Strategy
The 2020 strategy is the EU’s growth strategy for the period 2010-2020. In order to adapt to changing challenges and opportunities and fully recover from the crisis, the EU agreed to a Europe 2020 strategy aiming at helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. The EU hopes that an emphasis on these three mutually reinforcing priorities will help its Member States deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion.
In terms of concrete objectives, the Europe 2020 strategy has set specific targets to be achieved by 2020:
- Employment, raise employment rate to 75%
- Innovation, invest 3% of each MS GDP on R&D
- Education, reduce share of early school leavers to 10%
- Social inclusion, reduce the number of European living below national poverty lines by 25%
- Climate/Energy, reduce gas emissions by at least 20%, increase share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20% and achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency.
- EASPD response to the Commission Consultation on the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy (2014)
European Pillar of Social Rights
Proclaimed on the 17th November 2017, the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) highlights the commitment of the European Institutions, to put fair and well-functioning labour markets and social protection systems at the heart of a more social Europe. Structured around three categories:
- equal opportunities and access to the labour market;
- fair working conditions; and
- social protection and inclusion;
the Pillar claims to deliver new and more effective rights for citizens across 20 key principles. Although the Pillar’s principles do not replace existing rights, they offer a way to assess and, in the future, approximate for the better the performance of national employment and social policies. With the support of the Social Scoreboard in the European Semester process, the implementation of the Pillar will be monitored across the EU and will feed into the European Semester’s economic policy coordination, helping the Pillar to serve as a social compass for renewed convergence within the euro area.
- EASPD Opinion on Draft European Pillar of Social Rights - September 2016
- EASPD Interview of Luk Zelderloo on European Pillar of Social Rights - June 2016
- EASPD Suggested Amendments to proposed European Pillar of Social RIghts & Impact
- EASPD Impact Report on the European Parliament report on the European Pillar of Social Rights
Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development
The Agenda 2030 was adopted by the United Nations in 2015. It is the convergence of two complementary global processes:
- Post-Millennium Development Goals, which focused on developing countries and eradication of poverty.
- Post-Rio, which is linked to the UN conferences on environment (e.g. Rio+ 20 Conference on Sustainable Development).
At the core of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030) are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda 2030 addresses eradication of poverty and furthermore the environmental, economic and social dimension of sustainable development in an integrated and balanced manner.
The SDGs entered into force in 2016 and apply to all countries around the world and at all level of development.
Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade agreement that is currently being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA). It aims at removing trade barriers in a broad range of sectors to facilitate the trade of goods and services between the two partners. In addition to the usual cutting of tariffs across all sectors as is the case in most Trade Agreements, the EU and the USA aim at removing non-tariff barriers, which include differences in areas such as technical regulations, quality standards and approval procedures.The negotiations aim at defining the extent to which these differences should be aligned on a sector by sector approach. They will also be looking at how to best open up markets for services, investment and public procurement. Indeed, TTIP is a different type of trade agreement due its focus on regulation and investor protection rather than simply on tariff barriers to trade. EASPD is fighting to ensure that the social services sector is not included in this trade deal.
Access to Services for Migrants with Disabilities
The Syria and Iraq conflict has resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. Access to quality health and social services, employment and education remains a significant issue for migrants with disabilities; be it for those in a conflict zone, in neighbouring countries and the European Union. The EU's response to this particular issue is, on paper at least, rather limited, despite its human rights obligations. EASPD is fighting to ensure that the EU develops adequate mechanisms to improve access to social services for migrants with disabilities.
- EASPD Discussion Note on Access to Services for Migrants (2016)
- Fundamental Rights Agency Thematic Focus on Migrants with Disabilities (2016)
ICT-enabled services are considered as a key means through which to increase the participation in society of people with disabilities and improving their quality of life. Therefore, it is necessary to encourage the use of assistive technology (AT) or person centred technology (PCT) to improve service provision to end users at an affordable cost. Furthermore, an enhanced use of technology will also "free up" human resources in the care sector and ensure that care staff continue to provide quality services to those most in need.
Thomas Bignal, Policy Officer
+32 2 282 46 19