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Launch EU Social Investment Pact to tackle poverty and social exclusion
​Ahmed Aboutaleb

​Europe's regions and cities have appealed to the European Commission and Member States to take immediate action to tackle poverty and social exclusion. Clear investment targets should be set at national level and coordinated at European level by delivering a "Social Investment Pact".

Whilst presenting the opinion on the EU Social Investment Package, adopted on 9 October by the Committee of the Regions, Ahmed Aboutaleb (NL/PES), Mayor of Rotterdam, said, "We call for a turnaround of EU policies, which would put social issues at the same priority level as the single market".

According to the rapporteur a "Social Investment Pact" based on the model of the "Euro Plus Pact", would set clear targets for social investment to be made by Member States in order to meet the employment, social and education objectives laid out in the Europe 2020 strategy. The Pact should be complemented with an Employment and Social Policy Scoreboard, placed under the responsibility of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council), in order to detect employment and social imbalances that could threaten the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

Looking at the first steps to be taken, the CoR calls for the immediate implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) which must include young people up to the age of 30 though the lack of sufficient funding raises serious concern. In line with last week's communication on the social dimension of the EMU, the Committee encourages the European Commission to further explore the feasibility of an EU unemployment insurance scheme acting as an automatic stabiliser.

With regards to structural funds, the CoR welcomes the proposal to earmark at least 20% of European Social Fund in each Member State to promote social inclusion and tackle poverty. In order to ensure funding is correctly managed and properly targeted, the opinion suggests earmarking funds at regional rather than central level.

The opinion reiterates the call to set a European agenda for Social Housing. It also regrets that the Commission Staff Working Document on Long-Term Care in Ageing Societies does not address the issue of poverty and social exclusion of older people. A comprehensive analysis on how structural funds can support investment in long-term care is urgently needed.

Finally, inclusion policies should be based on two pillars: education and participation. It is of critical importance that at local and regional level, social inclusion and integration policies are targeted to all residents. “Social participation and inclusion must be the keys for achieving our social ambitions and keeping our welfare systems strong" Mr Aboutaleb pointed out before concluding that: "Citizens should be empowered to fully reach their potential and fully use their set of skills, with economic self-reliance being the objective”.

For more information, please contact:

Pierluigi Boda
Tel. +32 2 282 2461
Mobile +32 473 851 743

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