The challenges Europe is facing are cross-cutting and intertwined and so are the solutions. The EU's aims of growth, more and better jobs, stability, cohesion and solidarity require combined and comprehensive strategies. This must be reflected, on the one hand, in extended cooperation between the EESC's sections, observatories and the CCMI on overarching themes. For some of these, the SOC section will be in the lead, for others the SOC section and its permanent structures look forward to close cooperation under the leadership of other EESC bodies. On the other hand, a comprehensive approach requires more strategic and systematic cooperation with the section's external partners at other European and international institutions and agencies and beyond with European social partners and other civil society organisations.
The section strives for a proactive role in the legislative cycle taking account of the cooperation agreement with Parliament, which stipulates that the EP draws on the EESC's expertise for impact assessment, and the Commission's better regulation package, which foresees more systematic policy evaluation. The EESC is currently developing its own policy evaluation capacity, which should be qualitative and ex-post in nature in order to complement the work of the EP and the Commission, while retaining the full autonomy and capacity of the EESC’s bodies and the advisory role of its members laid down in the Treaty. During the first half-term of the current term of office, the SOC section will focus on three main themes. These priorities take account of the Commission's ten priorities for 2014-2019 and will also guide the section when carrying out work beyond the delivery of opinions on legislative and non-legislative proposals, such as own-initiative and explanatory opinions and, as appropriate, policy evaluations.
The three main themes are:
- Investment, including social investment, in inclusive growth, quality jobs, better working conditions and human capital
- Respect for human, fundamental and social rights
- Migration, asylum and integration