Two key initiatives linked to the European Pillar of Social Rights were on the agenda of the SEDEC Commission's meeting of 12 December: one on the Council recommendation for adequate minimum income and the other on the proposal for a European Care Strategy. Members also adopted a set of recommendations for creating an enabling environment for the social economy and elected a new First Vice-Chair, Mayor of Alimos Andreas Kondylis (EL/Renew).
is taking over as First Vice-Chair from Inga Berzina (LV/Renew). "As Mayor of Alimos in Athens' metropolitan area and member of Greek delegation in the European Committee of the Regions, I reaffirm my commitment to European values and will work together with you to contribute to the development of EU policies in the field of social policy, education, employment, research and culture", Mr Kondylis said, referring to the remits of the
Tanya Hristova (BG/EPP), Mayor of Gabrovo, gave an overview of the SEDEC commission's recent activities especially in the field of youth policy in the context of the European Year of Youth, culminating in the signature of the
Charter on Youth and Democracy at the CoR plenary in early December. She presented the SEDEC commission's
draft work programme for 2023 which identifies two key work areas related to: 1) the European Year for Skills 2023, announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and for which the CoR has already presented its recommendations in a
resolution, and 2) the
Partnerships for Regional Innovation and the promotion of territorial missions in R&I. Ms Hristova also shared her experiences from the
7th Gabrovo Innovation Camp which was held in October.
Members adopted an
opinion on creating an enabling environment for the social economy at local and regional level, following a request from the Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič. Rapporteur
Ricardo Rio (PT/EPP), Mayor of Braga, said: “Social Economy is a vital sector for Europe to ensure sustainable and inclusive development. Local and regional governments are calling to boost this important sector of the economy. All European institutions are working together to reinforce the social economy actors and this opinion is another step in this direction."
Two more opinions were adopted with direct links to the implementation of the
European Pillar of Social Rights. "The proposed Council Recommendation on
adequate minimum income is an encouraging first step in the right direction", rapporteur
Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES) said when presenting her
opinion. "Local and regional authorities have a crucial role to play in making a success of it, particularly when it comes to providing quality social services, actively reaching out to people requiring support and identifying the specific needs of individuals in order to develop people-centred pathways towards active inclusion in society. However, a higher level of minimum income, a tighter delivery timeline for the Recommendation, more homogeneous eligibility criteria and more precise wording when it comes to envisaged action are necessary in order to optimise the impact of the proposal", the Chair of Kerava City Council stressed.
Heinrich Dorner (AT/PES), rapporteur of the
European Care Strategy and Member of Burgenland Regional Government, said: "The demographic trends for the European Union speak for themselves: with a forecast of people potentially in need of long-term care expected to increase from 19.5 million in 2016 to 23.6 million in 2030 and 30.5 million in 2050 in the EU and with some 8 million jobs required in the health and social sector in the next ten years, it is clear that the European Union has to gear up its care strategy. The gearing up should build on coordinated European measures for better recognition and upgrading of the situation and working conditions of care professionals, on an improved legal framework based on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the relevant ILO conventions and on closing the territorial gaps in availability and access to long-term care, notably by incentivizing social investments also at European level."
The next meeting of the SEDEC commission will be held on 17 February 2023.