EESC opinion: Social Investment Package

22 May 2013
Adopted References: CESE 1557/2013 - SOC/481 Referral - COM(2013) 83 final Rapporteur: Röpke (Workers - GR II / Austria) Plenary Session: 490 - 22 May 2013 - 23 May 2013 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 271, 19.09.2013, p. 91-96

Opinion on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020

Key points

  • The EESC welcomes the Commission's Social Investment Package and the shift in approach it represents.
  • The Social Investment Package could make a significant contribution to a change of policy direction in favour of more growth and jobs, if it were consistently implemented in practice.
  • The EESC agrees with the European Commission that the details of social policy are primarily a matter for the Member States. Given the significant differences between countries, the European Commission should play a key role in the exchange of tried and tested and innovative approaches among Member States and all relevant stakeholders.
  • The EESC welcomes the fact that the important role of the social economy, social enterprises, civil society and the social partners for implementing the social investment package is expressly recognised in the communication.
  • The EESC is critical of the question of financing for the Social Investment Package remaining largely unanswered. Without a change in the lop-sided policy of spending cuts, successful implementation of the proposals does not seem a realistic prospect.
  • The EESC therefore reaffirms its view that it is imperative that new sources of revenue for public budgets be identified.
  • Specifically, the EESC reiterates its call for a European growth and investment programme worth 2% of GDP.
  • The EESC calls on the European Commission to ensure that greater focus on social investment is also reflected in the coordination process of the European Semester. It must be made clear that greater social investment is compatible with "differentiated, growth-friendly" fiscal consolidation.