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European Commission to Member States: invest in inclusive labour markets!


European Commission to Member States: invest in inclusive labour markets!

The European Commission launched on 17th November their Autumn Package, outlining their economic and social priorities for the year ahead. The package outlines the Commission’s view that additional investment is now needed to achieve an economic recovery which benefits all. EASPD welcomes this positive re-alignment from the European Commission to invest in people and social infrastructure.

Yesterday, the European Commission called on Member States to invest more into the economy; thus calling for a “move towards a more positive fiscal stance for the euro area” and recognising the need for a fiscal stimulus of between 30 and 80 billion additional euro into the Eurozone. The Annual Growth Survey states that the “low funding cost environment makes it an idea time for the Member States to frontload public investments”.

For EASPD, the Annual Growth Survey marks clear progress from previous years, highlighting far better the link between the many concerns affecting people and their impact on the European economy. Important economic and social priorities for the European Commission include the necessity for Member States to invest to create more inclusive labour markets for persons with disabilities and to ensure access to quality services for all, including long-term care, housing, education and training.

On the Autumn Package, Mr Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General EASPD, says “getting equal opportunities for a job is a right and it is very positive news that the European Commission understand that this right remains unaccomplished for too many persons with disabilities”, adding that “getting access to high quality support services is a must for this right to be made possible for all”.

To support the European Commission in implementing the recommendation to Member States to tackle the lack of equal opportunities on the labour market for persons with disabilities, EASPD will soon launch the 2017 report on “Developing more inclusive labour markets with the European Semester”, with messages on how to do so from 10 European Member States.

In light of this progress, EASPD hopes that this more positive stance towards truly investing in people and local communities is a first step; but that this must be made available to all European Member States through additional flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact for social investment. Similarly, EASPD regrets that the Commission’s proposal for an EFSI 2.0 does not develop instruments to guarantee sufficient investment in quality social infrastructure.

President of EASPD, Mr Jim Crowe believes that “focusing on abilities rather than on disabilities is the way forward for a more inclusive society and economy. The Commission’s proposals seem to go in this direction and EASPD can only welcome these developments”.

EASPD will continue to work with the European institutions on these matters to ensure that they make a real impact on the quality of life of people in Europe, in particular for those most disadvantaged.

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Thomas Bignal, Policy Officer

+32 2 282 46 19