European Parliament prioritises topics.

IF – 08/2019

On 25 July 2019, Yana Toom (RE, EE), Member of the European Parliament and member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, presented a draft report on a motion for a resolution on strengthening employment and social policies in the euro area.

The draft report outlines a cross-section of various policy initiatives and measures from the last two legislative periods, such as the European Semester, the country-specific recommendations, the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Multiannual Financial Framework. Accordingly, the report provides information on future priorities in social policy for the coming legislative period.

Status Quo

Labour market and social policies in Europe are faced with a number of challenges which the Member States must tackle together. Major structural changes such as demographic change, migration, increasing global trade, economic integration and developments related to digitalisation require policy answers.

Therefore, the report emphasises the call for strengthening key social policy issues in order to foster economic stability in the euro area. Positive mention is made of the high employment rate of 73.5% across Europe, as well as strong growth in the number of full-time employees and among employees over 55 years of age.

However, ongoing discrimination against certain groups of people such as women, people with disabilities, certain illnesses or migration backgrounds is still problematic. The EU must continue to improve the overall social situation in order to permanently eliminate the risk of poverty and possible gaps in the coverage provided by social protection systems.

Calls on the Commission

The report welcomes the Commission’s country-specific recommendations but criticises their slow implementation. Parliament therefore urges the Commission to exert the necessary pressure on Member States.

It is imperative to strengthen the growth potential of individual EU economies in order to ensure equal access to the labour market and social protection for all population groups.

It is also important to increase efforts to reduce the gender pension gap, improve work-life balance, and provide access to childcare facilities and long-term care facilities.

The draft report calls on the Commission and the Member States to better implement the European Pillar of Social Rights in order to prevent poverty and social exclusion. The German Social Insurance welcomes Parliament’s efforts to provide EU citizens with the best possible social security and to create good framework conditions. We will continue to monitor the political developments.