EESC opinion: A new European Social Action Programme

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EESC opinion: A new European Social Action Programme

Key points:

A new European Social Action Programme is needed so that EU social developments can keep pace with economic and market developments It is opportune in the light of the new Lisbon Treaty, which creates new possibilities, responsibilities and objectives, to relaunch a more participatory and dynamic Social Europe. The new ESAP should promote, in tangible and practical ways, EU social policy goals and ambitions well beyond 2010 and be a comprehensive policy roadmap of action.

Social dialogue remains one of the main pillars and be reinforced. The programme should reconnect with citizens and organised civil society, enabling "bottom-up" participatory procedures, also including civil dialogue, to inter-act with EU initiatives.

The programme should specifically address policy areas such as quality of life, fundamental social rights, empowering people, social solidarity, employment and work of high quality, societal entrepreneurship, management of change, promotion of core social standards in EU external relations, especially in the area of trade. All instruments and tools available should be used. While the Community method should be maintained, it must be supplemented by other "new methods". Financial resources in the existing budget can be reallocated to support the programme. The budgetary reform after 2013 must focus social cohesion.