02/14/2005

Social Agenda 2005-2010

The Commission last week launched its new Social Agenda for modernising
Europe's social model under the revamped Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs.
The new agenda focuses on providing jobs and equal opportunities for all and
ensuring that the benefits of the EU's growth and jobs drive reach everyone in
society. By modernising labour markets and social protection systems, it will
help people seize the opportunities created by international competition,
technological advances and changing population patterns while protecting the
most vulnerable in society.

Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal
Opportunities, said: "This dynamic new agenda will help to provide what
citizens most want: decent jobs and social justice. It is about equipping
everyone to manage the changes facing our society and about looking after the
neediest. It is designed to preserve and modernise our valued social model as
the essential tool underpinning Europe's drive to boost growth and jobs. It
maps the route for reforming labour markets in order to make work a real option
for everyone. At the same time, it provides pathways for modernising welfare
systems and combating poverty."

The new Social Agenda has two key priorities, (i) employment and (ii) fighting
poverty and promoting equal opportunities. These key priorities support two of
the Commission's strategic goals for the next five years: prosperity and
solidarity. The Agenda calls for partnerships between public authorities at
local, regional and national level, employer and worker representatives and
NGOs.

Under employment, the Agenda will focus on:


  • Creating a European labour market, through enabling workers to take pension
    and social security entitlements with them when they work in a different Member
    States and by establishing an optional framework for collective bargaining
    across frontiers; the Commission will also examine transition periods for
    workers from new Member States;
  • Getting more people into better jobs, particularly through the European
    Youth Initiative and supporting women in (re-)entering the labour market;
  • Updating labour law to address needs created by new forms of work, i.e.
    particular short term contracts; a new health and safety strategy;
  • Managing the process of restructuring through the social dialogue.

Under poverty and equal opportunities, the Agenda will focus on:


  • Analysing the impact of ageing populations and the future of relations
    between the different generations, by launching a Green Paper on demography
  • Supporting the Member States in reforming pensions and health care and
    tackling poverty;
  • Tackling discrimination and inequality; the Commission will examine minimum
    income schemes in the Member States and set out a policy approach for tackling
    discrimination, particularly against ethnic minorities such as the Roma;
  • Fostering equal opportunities between women and men, for example by setting
    up a gender institute;
  • Clarifying the role and characteristics of social services of general
    interest.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work