Social protection in European Union development cooperation

The Communication seeks to explain the role of social protection in underpinning inclusive and sustainable development and the role of EU development cooperation in supporting the strengthening of social protection policies and systems.

The goal of EU development cooperation in supporting social protection is to improve equity and efficiency in provision, while supporting social inclusion and cohesion, as the essential underpinnings of inclusive, sustainable growth and poverty reduction. These goals spring naturally from the fundamental values of the European Union.

The EU will seek to include social protection in its policy dialogues with partner countries on their national development strategies and should further promote and assist the development of context-specific social protection systems that are efficient, equitable and sustainable.

The EU has accumulated a wealth of experience and approaches in the field of social protection. The differences between EU Member States in social protection financing, levels of coverage, administration and delivery systems offer a wide range of experiences and knowledge which can provide a strong basis for capacity building and policy advice in support of partner countries.

Civil society and the social partners should be empowered and encouraged to partner with the state in developing and implementing social protection systems. Their participation can help promote efficiency in provision as well as wider consultation and inclusion.

In this opinion, the EESC will aim to adopt a stance on the role of social protection in development policy. This is likely to be one of the main topics in the debate about the new goals of development policy which are to replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.