12 October, 2008
Shaping globalisation in a social way: We need a Social Europe! (PC3)

1. It must be prevented that European decisions have a negative effect on the national social security systems and the social protection of the citizens. The European Parliament has followed this line when voting on the European Service Directive. A social assessment for all European legislation is necessary: before voting on a legislative initiative it must be carefully evaluated, whether such a proposal could have negative consequences for employment and social integration. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty such social assessments become legally binding. Also the European Court of Justice should reconsider the social dimension of some of its decisions.

2. It is essential that EU sets some minimum social standards, valid for all the union’s countries below which it is not allowed to go. Of course the EU shall put in place equalisation policies aimed to help the member countries having difficulties. For the working time, workers rights and gender equality European rules already exist. Also concerning areas such as salaries and taxes it is useful to consider minimum standards.

3. In some areas European minimum standards should be set up. For the working time, workers rights and gender equality European rules already exist. Also concerning areas such as salaries and taxes it is useful to consider minimum standards
 
4. Without having a formal competence for social policy, the EU should use its room for maneuver to contribute to a social Europe. The EU should become active amongst others in the areas of:

- an active labour market policy, and the abolition of remaining obstacles to labour mobility and therefore guaranteeing the freedom of movement.

- introducing striciter rules for the financial market,

- strengthen social security and social rights,

- gender equality,

- life long learning,
 
- to obtain a real mainstreaming of all the experience of European social funds specifically thos about employment and gender equality,

- improving the compatibility of work and family,

- health systems which are affordable and accessible for all citizens,

- preventing elderly poverty through a sufficient pension system,

- better support and improved training to prepare young people on a now longer purely national labour market,

- a fair minimum salary for everyone and prevention of poverty

Besides European projects for a social Europe it is essential to better coordinate national social policies. The expertise on EU-affairs of actors in social policy must be enhanced considerably. Furthermore the "Open Method of Coordination" in the area of social policy should be reviewed and strengthened. In particular the European Commission is requested to reinforce its role as the guardian of European integration by acting as an effective watchdog for the achievement of benchmarks, agreed under the OMC, at member state level.

The future European Social Model should follow the awareness that we need not only more but also better jobs, that it is essential that the strong show solidarity with the weak and that European minimum standards are necessary, not only concerning social policy but also concerning the valuation and payment in employment.

The European Social charter includes a wide range of concrete commitments for a social Europe. The European Commission shall monitor the implementation by the member states.

The EU urgently needs to be able to take over more responsibility and needs stronger instruments in order to face the challenges of globalisation in the interests of the European citizens. Therefore a successful completion of the ratification procedure for the Treaty of Lisbon is an important step towards a social Europe that is close to its citizens.


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