The unprecedented economic and financial crisis, which has hit Member States of the Eurozone particularly hard, has also exposed structural weaknesses in Europe in general.
The Union is witnessing the proof in some of the most hard-hit countries that the economic and social crisis also has become a political crisis, where extremist and undemocratic political movements are on the rise. The need to counterbalance this trend is a matter of utmost urgency, through concrete actions at European, national and local level.
The Committee welcomes the increased attention brought to a social investment, a greater targeting of European funds to sound employment and social policies, a dedicated youth employment initiative and youth guarantee scheme, and better cross-border mobility. It also welcomes the foreseen strengthened social dialogue as part of the European Semester process.
It particularly supports the idea to step up closer surveillance of employment and social imbalances within the EMU through a systematic monitoring of rates of unemployment, of young people not in employment or training or education, of household income, poverty and inequality.
The proposed scoreboard of employment and social imbalances based on key indicators and thresholds should therefore pro-actively detect asymmetric developments and spillover into overall economic performance. This monitoring system should trigger where required a timely and effective adjustment mechanism and policy response, as is the case for similar economic and financial imbalances.