On Wednesday 5th June 2019, the European Commission published its Country Specific Recommendations to each EU Member States, concluding the European Semester process for 2019. The Recommendations continue to uphold the shift towards a more social Europe and identify priority areas for investment where disability support services can play an important role. EASPD particularly welcomes the strong focus of the 2019 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) on the need to promote more inclusive education systems, enhance justice systems, strengthen access to the labour market for those most excluded and improve social services coordination.
The European Semester is a multi-annual exchange between the European Commission and Member States with the goal to better coordinate national economic and social policies. This review has a direct influence on policies related to the provision of support services for persons with disabilities and with the adoption of 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the EU committed to link more and more its policies to social matters.
Looking at the Recommendations, it is clear that improved support service provision is identified by the European Commission as key to unlock access to basic life needs. Notably, the Commission asks the Romanian authorities to “Increase the coverage and quality of social services”. The performance and inclusiveness of education and training systems is highlighted as a priority for several Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Slovakia) and so is the need to foster labour market integration (Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain). Similarly, the need to improve access to better, affordable and integrated social care remains an urgency for people to benefit from support as needed throughout all stages of their lives. Although we welcome the general orientation and approach, the CSRs could be stronger on how the Member States could implement concretely the changes recommended and effectively implement the European Pillar of Social Rights.
In the past years, in view of the European Semester, EASPD has published annual reports identifying the main barriers for service providers across the EU.
Luk Zelderloo, EASPD Secretary General remarks that “this year’s Recommendations are clearly addressing topics that are of clear concern to many support service provider organisations in the EU. This means that the European Commission is listening to our main message, that the development of solid support systems should occur on the grounds of inclusion and services should offer personalised support tailored to individuals needs and promoting full choice and control over one’s life. National and regional governments must now act on these recommendations!”.
Further strengthening our work this year, EASPD is currently working with national members to analyse the situation in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Spain. A report will be published in the summer and will be presented during a hearing with EU policy-makers on the 12 September 2019.
- EASPD 2018 Report: The European Semester and the European Pillar of Social Rights- Support services as key players in the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights
- Press Release in PDF
Note to editors:
The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 17,000 social and health support services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.