The Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) covers a broad range of topics: employment, working conditions, occupational health, social protection, social security, social inclusion, gender equality, combating discrimination, improving free movement, immigration/integration and asylum, education and training, citizens' rights, and participatory democracy in the EU. The SOC Section's activities cover the work of several European Parliamentary committees and Commission Directorates-General, giving a comprehensive input to the social dimension of the Lisbon agenda.
Europe is still marked by high unemployment, although there are some signs of economic recovery. Globalisation, climate change and the ageing workforce also put labour markets under pressure. Proactive strategies, including active labour market policies, must be devised in order to make European working life and labour markets more conducive to productivity, growth and sustainable employment, for the good of all Europeans. Labour markets should have the capacity to integrate, and benefit from, the entire available workforce.
A more holistic view of life cycles is needed that allows for a better synthesis between the various components of living in a modern society, such as education and training, working life and access to services and social benefits. Social dialogue is crucial. Both social partners and other civil society organisations have an important role to play in backing up the notion that well-designed social policies as such and empowerment strategies contribute to Europe's prosperity. EU Member States are facing different problems and have chosen different approaches in dealing with them. In due course, the impact of the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, in particular the new horizontal social clause, and the respective roles of the open method of coordination and the Community method should be looked into further.
The three priorities with sub-themes set out below should be seen as closely interrelated. Together they cover the whole range of policy areas of the SOC Section.
More efficient labour market
- A good and productive working life
- The potential of young people
- Development of the internal market and free movement of labour
Management of the social crisis
- Social security systems and the social impact of the crisis
- Giving every child the best start in life
- Healthy and active living
Europe for all
- Proactive integration and immigration
- Enhancing rights and opportunities
- Active citizenship and volunteering
Read more in the attached pdf-document.