Regions and cities are ready to play their part in building a strong Social Europe which will ensure just transitions and recovery after the Covid-19 crisis. The
Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights
, which was presented today by the European Commission, sets three ambitious headline targets which should guide policy decisions in the Member States and their regions to achieve the objectives of the Pillar, also by making
full use of different EU funds to unlock social investment.
The new headline targets imply that by 2030 at least 78% of EU population aged 20 to 64 should be in employment, at least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year and the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion should be reduced by at least 15 million. The Commission also presented today a recommendation on
Effective Active Support to Employment (EASE) which aims to guide the transition from emergency measures to sustainable, future-proof jobs.
The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR)
Apostolos Tzitzikostas said: "The COVID health emergency is becoming a social emergency. We must use all available tools to safeguard jobs, fight poverty and protect the most vulnerable. The Action Plan sets ambitious targets that we can reach only working together at all levels of governance – European, national and local – and by making full use of different EU funds to unlock social investment. We are ready to be key partners in implementing the Action Plan to ensure it answers our people's needs and provides a fair and inclusive recovery."
The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU has asked the CoR to prepare an opinion on the implementation of the
European Pillar of Social Rights from a local and regional perspective. It is scheduled for adoption in the May plenary session just days before the
EU Social Summit in Porto on 7-8 May.
Rapporteur Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES), local councillor of Kerava and Chair of the CoR's Commission for Social Policy, Employment, Education, Culture and Research (SEDEC), said: "The Action Plan is a much-awaited tool to translate into concrete action on the ground the principles that underpin our vision for a fair and inclusive Social Europe, resilient to crises. Local and regional authorities are key to not only implementing the Action Plan, but also monitoring progress with the regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights. Therefore, the need for meaningful multi-level governance, not least through the application of the partnership principle, should be fully acknowledged in the Action Plan."
While the Commission is proposing a revised version of the Social Scoreboard to support the delivery of Pillar's objectives, the CoR fears it will only measure progress at national level and regrets the lack of indicators covering regional disparities in the current proposal. The first-ever
Regional Social Scoreboard
produced by the CoR in 2019 showed considerable differences within individual Member States. The CoR strongly believes that regional monitoring is needed to ensure that the Social Pillar is implemented at all levels and that regional investments are geared towards achieving the principles of the Pillar.
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