The aim of active inclusion is to bring those who can work and are furthest from the labour market into employment and to provide those who cannot work with enough resources to live in dignity and participate in society. In 2008, the European Commission issued a recommendation for a comprehensive active inclusion strategy based on adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services. Since then, and in the wake of the financial crisis, Europe has experienced severe social set-backs.
Today, one in four Europeans lives in or is at risk of poverty and progress is slow on the Europe 2020 goals for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. To support Member States in their efforts to emerge from the crisis within current budget constraints, the European Commission published its 2013 Social Investment Package (SIP). The SIP presented an assessment of how Member States have implemented the Commission's recommendations on active inclusion, reiterating the crucial need for active inclusion in the fight against poverty. It also called on Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states, giving guidance on more efficient and effective social policies and better active inclusion. In the context of the approaching mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy, it is timely to establish what has been done to reach the Europe 2020 goal of social inclusion.
The EESC/Eurofound joint conference aimed at focusing on the measures taken at European level to step up active inclusion and social investment. The event enabled participants to look into questions such as: