The new structure of the European Commission (EC) has been revealed by its President-elect, Jean-Claude Juncker. Following weeks of rumours, he has officially announced his team’s composition and the different working portfolios. The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) wants to congratulate all the appointed Commissioners, welcoming in particular the new Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Mrs. Marianne Thyssen and the new Commissioner in charge of Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Mrs. Vĕra Jourová.
The proposed composition shows a clear new working shift in the Commission, especially the decision that has been taken to create a coordination team made up of the seven Vice-presidents, which will have the power to carefully supervise all the initiatives that will be developed throughout the Commission. EASPD is concerned about how this will be done in practice and which mechanism will apply in case of disagreement, avoiding a lack of coherence, efficiency or paralysis. We are also concerned on how the cross-cutting approach will impact the Commissioners’ work with stakeholders coming from the social sector.
The principle of “Better Regulation” is more present than ever in the skeleton of the Commission. But this concept’s implementation working plan still needs to be clarified. We hope that this new competence assigned to Mr. Frans Timmermans will not lead to reducing the number of EC initiatives and EP proposals by giving priority to certain issues over others, but that it will help the European Commission to comply with the EU’s principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and maximise the contribution to the EU jobs and growth agenda.
EASPD considers that the inclusion of skills and Labour mobility in the Social Affairs portfolio is a good choice. These topics have a great impact in the service providers sector for persons with disabilities but we also question why Inclusion and Social Dialog have been left out. EASPD welcomes the willingness to put more emphasis on the employment and social aspects of the European Semester as leverage to further developing the social protection systems and helping EU countries to modernise their labour markets by making them more inclusive. EASPD hopes that this stronger focus on the social dimension within the European Semester will facilitate the achievement of the Europe 2020 targets.
To guarantee the future of the political Union there is a need to find a better balance between the economic and the social agendas. To make it work, the EU needs to allow key partners from the economic and social sectors to take part in the decision-making. EASPD is looking forward to working with the new EC team and to carefully listening to the public hearings in the European Parliament to know more about the EC proposals to unlocking the job-creation potential of the social services sector and find out what they will do to further develop this sector.
For more information, please contact
Nieves Tejada, EASPD Communications Officer