ISSN: 1682-7783

            ISSUE N° 23 • April 2010

                      European Year 2010:
                   y most standards, Europe can be considered influence in shaping public opinion and ...
 G En D ER
 Women still underrepresented in EU boardrooms                                                        ...
The new European Commission took office on 10 February,                            in the Nordic cou...
Trade unions and employers in the metalwork sector –            ...
Parents will have the right to longer parental leave,
under new rules agreed by EU ministers on 1st Decemb...

 Women still
 in EU boardrooms

the companies that perform best            been a central preoccupation for
    financially. Recent events have shown     ...
Goldman Sachs calculates that, leaving     the people that currently take the                        firms have increased ...
© European Union
      ESF in Bulgaria - Career progression
              s a regional manager for a         dynami...
Free movement of
workers in the EU still
subject to restrictions
More member states removed                 ...

     One European in six feels
     discriminated against

on age (58%) and disability (53%).          These data point to a strong relation-           ence discrimination and/or th...
In terms of reporting cases of discrimi-   better acceptance of diversity. Efforts    financially to national awareness-

© Michel Loriaux - European Union
     2010: fighting poverty
     and social exclusion
     This year’s European Year wil...
fighting poverty and social exclusion     innovative projects. National actions     makers and major round tables.
in the ...
     the message home
     A wide range of awareness-
     raising activities is set to reach
     as many people ...
The crucial task
     of communicating


 Putting Europe
 back on track

“An Agenda for new skills and jobs”
                                                At EU level, the Commission will:

 the health gap

Szociális teendők magazin
Szociális teendők magazin
Szociális teendők magazin
Szociális teendők magazin
Szociális teendők magazin
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Szociális teendők magazin


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Social Agenda 23 - European Year 2010: Fighting against poverty and social exclusion ( 03/05/2010 )
Catalog N. : KE-AF-09-023-EN-C
Social Agenda 23 - European Year 2010: Fighting against poverty and social exclusion

Issue 23 of Social Agenda focuses on the 2010 European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion and on the efforts deployed to address this issue across the EU. It also takes a look at women in corporate Europe and examines the reasons why they are still underrepresented in high-level positions. And last but not least, the April edition introduces the magazine’s new layout and graphic design. It is available in English, French and German.

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Szociális teendők magazin

  1. 1. ISSN: 1682-7783 ISSUE N° 23 • April 2010 European Year 2010: Fighting against poverty and social exclusion Women still underrepresented in EU boardrooms Europe 2020: Putting Europe back on track The European Commission’s magazine on employment and social affairs
  2. 2. EDITO B y most standards, Europe can be considered influence in shaping public opinion and perceptions an affluent society. More than 50 years of make them important allies in the fight to eradicate economic growth and inclusive social policies poverty and social exclusion. have brought about unprecedented levels of prosperity and comfort for its citizens. And yet as you read this, Elsewhere in the magazine we report on the latest almost 80 million Europeans are struggling to make Eurobarometre survey on discrimination in the EU, ends meet, to clothe and feed their children, to keep which shows that discrimination, particularly on the a roof over their heads. grounds of race and 17% of our fellow EU “as you read this, almost 80 million ethnic origin, remains a citizens currently live Europeans are struggling to make ends problem across Europe. below the poverty People’s perceptions threshold. The EU and meet, to clothe and feed their children, are broadly unchanged its Member States are to keep a roof over their heads” compared to 2008, acutely aware of the but the recession has iniquities of poverty and social exclusion and of how increased fears of a rise in discrimination based on divisive they are to society. That is why they have age, as competition for available job becomes fiercer. chosen 2010 as a special year to raise awareness Meanwhile, in this issue’s feature we examine the root of these interrelated issues and to stimulate greater causes of women’s continuing underrepresentation at effort to combat the problems they cause. The decision the highest levels of the business and financial world. to designate 2010 as European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion was made before the In our regular interview we ask the new European onset of the current economic crisis. However, the Commissioner for Employment, Social affairs and downturn has made thousands more people poorer Inclusion László Andor about his vision and his priori- through unemployment. It is reasonable to argue that ties for action as he prepares to steer European social the EU could not have picked a better time to press policy through the next Commission’s term of office. home the message that we must all come together to combat poverty and social exclusion. Finally, in the Other Voices section on page 26 Fintan Farrell, director of the European Anti-Poverty Network, In this edition’s “Special feature”, which begins on explains what needs to be achieved by the European page 15, we take a closer look at the objectives that Year 2010 in order to guarantee a visible step the European Year has set itself, and at the events and forward for the fight against poverty, social exclusion activities taking place throughout the European Union and inequality in the next decade. in order to help achieving them. We pay special attention to the role of the media: their power and Robert Verrue Focus On: © Michel Loriaux - European Union © Getty Images © Getty Images European Year 2010: fighting Women still underrepresented Europe 2020: poverty and social exclusion in EU boardrooms Putting Europe back on track This year’s European Year will raise Almost 9 out of 10 board members Newly launched Europe 2020 strat- awareness of the many forms of of the largest EU companies are men egy aims at smart, sustainable and poverty and exclusion affecting p. 7 inclusive growth p. 21 European citizens p.15 2 Social Agenda – April 2010
  3. 3. COnTEnTs G En D ER Women still underrepresented in EU boardrooms 7 FREE MOVE M EnT Free movement of workers in the EU still subject to restrictions 11 D IsCRI M InATIO n © Getty Images One European in six feels discriminated against 12 sPECIAL FE ATU RE European Year 2010: fighting against poverty and social exclusion 15 Solidarity and a shared commitment 16 Driving the message home 18 © Getty Images The crucial task of communicating 20 EU RO PE 2020 Putting Europe back on track 21 sO CIAL In CLUsIO n Tackling the health gap 23 OTH ER VO ICEs © 123RF What the 2010 EU Year against poverty 26 and social exclusion can deliver at EU level ITE M s News in brief 4 Interview with László Andor, European Commissioner 27 for Employment, social affairs and inclusion Recent publications 28 © 123RF Useful websites 28 A magazine providing information on European employment and social policies, Social Agenda is published in English, French and German by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Editor in chief: Robert Verrue, Director-General, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities – European Commission, B-1049 Brussels 65,000 copies of this issue were published. Subscription is free on request – please contact: European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities DG – InfoCentre, B-1049 Brussels, Fax.: (32-2) 296 23 93; Notice: Neither the European Commission, nor any person acting on its behalf, may be held responsible for the use to which information contained in this publication may be put, or for any errors which, despite careful preparation and checking, may appear. • © European Union, 2010 Non-commercial reproduction authorised, subject to acknowledgement of the source. For any use or reproduction of photos which are not under European Union copyright, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holder(s). © cover: Michel Loriaux–- European Union Social Agenda April 2010 3
  4. 4. nEWs In BRIEF GENERAL The new European Commission took office on 10 February, in the Nordic countries and the Netherlands generally most following the positive vote in the European Parliament on satisfied with their personal situation. According to the 9 February. László Andor is the new Commissioner respon- Eurobarometer survey, a majority of Europeans are satisfied sible for employment, social affairs and inclusion, while with life in general, giving an average score of +3.2 points Commission vice-president Viviane Reding is in charge of (on a scale of -10 to +10). But there are big differences gender equality and anti discrimination policies as part of between Member States: the highest level of satisfaction her justice, fundamental rights and citizenship portfolio. ❙■ was reported in Denmark, (+8.0), with Sweden, the Nether- lands and Finland also having high levels. The lowest levels of satisfaction were reported in Bulgaria (-1.9), followed by Hungary, Greece and Romania. ❙■ Seven months after the launch of the “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” mobility programme, the first participants are returning from their experiences abroad, providing very positive feedback. New Entrepreneurs were © European Union pleased to develop the skills necessary for building and running a business and Host Entrepreneurs have reported about hopes for future cooperation abroad and the positive László Andor Viviane Reding influence of a fresh perspective on their businesses. To date, 1200 potential New and Host Entrepreneurs from 24 EU Europeans are on average broadly satisfied with their countries have applied to participate in the programme, personal situation, but less satisfied when it comes to the with Spain and Italy leading the way (29% of New Entrepre- economy, public services and social policies in their country, neurs and 30% of Host Entrepreneurs respectively). The according to an opinion survey released 2 February. The advertising/promotion/media is the most requested sector Eurobarometer on the social climate in the EU (15% of the current exchanges), followed by Education and also found large differences between countries, with people training (10%). ❙■ EMPLOYMENT AND EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND Latest data for November and December 2009 show that The European Commission has approved applications from EU labour markets continue to weaken, although Lithuania for assistance under the European Globalisa- at a more moderate pace. Unemployment is still rising in most tion Adjustment Fund (EGF). The requested amount Member States, but labour markets have shown stronger signs of € 1 185 569 will help 491 redundant workers in the of stabilising in certain countries, confirming an easing in the clothing sector and 636 workers in the furniture manufac- deterioration of the EU labour market overall. Nevertheless, turing sector to get back into employment. The Lithuanian despite improving economic prospects and sentiment, the application relates to 1 469 redundancies in 49 enterprises labour market outlook for 2010 remains unfavourable and is operating in the furniture manufacturing sector, one of the only expected to show a gradual improvement afterwards. ❙■ first sectors to be affected by the economic and financial crisis as a direct consequence of the slow-down in construc- Crisis response measures and EU financial support have tion activity, both in Lithuania and elsewhere. ❙■ helped to stem the adverse impacts of the slowdown on EU labour markets in 2009, according to a European Commis- On 16 November 2009 the European network of sion report issued on December 15. But these measures must employment services (EURES) celebrated 15 years be coherent with long-term employment reforms to prepare of activity. True to its aim of helping people find a job in a successful exit from the crisis. The draft ‘Joint Employ- another European country, EURES brings together public ment Report’ will be discussed by employment and employment services from 31 countries and offers direct social affairs ministers in the Council in March 2010 and online access to over 700 000 job vacancies every day. ❙■ will contribute to the EU’s new 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, due to be adopted by EU leaders in Spring 2010. ❙■ 4 Social Agenda – April 2010
  5. 5. WORK ORGANISATION, WORKING CONDITIONS AND SOCIAL DIALOGUE Trade unions and employers in the metalwork sector – are deprived representing around 10 million employees –launch a from a fair share new sectoral social dialogue committee. The new of the benefits committee will enable the Council of European Employers generated by the of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-Based Industries digital economy in (CEEMET) and The European Metalworkers Federation (EMF) practice. ❙■ to sign contractual agreements at EU level. The committee aims to help the industry – which is being hit hard by the Eurofound has © 123RF crisis – to face challenges such as globalisation, management published its change and the restructuring process. ❙■ first findings of the European Employers and trade unions in the audiovisual sector Company Survey 2009– Flexibility practices have adopted a joint opinion on protecting creativity, and social dialogue. In the survey, representatives from innovation and jobs from Internet piracy. Unauthorised more than 21 000 companies were interviewed on the state file sharing poses an increasing problem to the European of social dialogue at the establishment level. It also looks at economy in terms of lost job opportunities and revenues various forms of flexibility practices at the company level, for the industry as well as for governments. Companies in particular with regards to contracts, flexibility practices are faced with a loss of revenues and return on investment in companies, working time and performance-related pay. in the production and exploitation of creative contents. In More information is available on the Eurofound website: addition, many authors, performers and other rights holders ❙■ PROMOTING AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY The Council has given the go-ahead to the European In 2008, 17% of the population in the EU 27, just Community’s becoming a party to the 2006 UN Convention over 84 million persons, were at risk of poverty. on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which This means that their income was below the poverty guarantees that the disabled enjoy the same human rights and threshold. The highest at-risk-of-poverty rates in 2008 were fundamental liberties as the rest of society. The Convention is found in Latvia (26%), Romania (23%), Bulgaria (21%), the first international, legally binding instrument establishing Greece, Spain and Lithuania (all 20%), and the lowest in the minimum standards for the protection and safeguarding of Czech Republic (9%), the Netherlands and Slovakia (both a wide range of civil, political, social, economic and cultural 11%), Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and Sweden (all rights for persons with disabilities around the world. It is also 12%). Children (19%) and elderly people (20%) are more at the first comprehensive human rights convention to which the risk of poverty than the total population. ❙■ European Community will become a party. ❙■ Around one in six people in Europe claim to have personally experienced discrimination in the past year, according to a new opinion survey released by the European Commission on 9 November 2009. Personal experience of discrimina- tion by respondents remains largely unchanged since the same survey was carried out last year. However, there has been a strong increase in perceived discrimination based on age and disability, with 64% of Europeans worried that the recession will contribute to more age discrimination in the job market (see article on p. 12). ❙■ © 123RF Social Agenda – April 2010 5
  6. 6. GENDER EQUALITY Parents will have the right to longer parental leave, under new rules agreed by EU ministers on 1st December. The revised Directive on Parental Leave will give each working parent the right to at least four months leave after the birth or adoption of a child (up from three months now). At least one of the four months cannot be transferred to the other parent – meaning it will be lost if not taken – offering incentives to fathers to take the leave. The Directive puts © European Union into effect an agreement between European employers and trade union organisations. ❙■ Vilnius The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) opened its doors in Vilnius on 16 December 2009. The Presidents of Lithuania and Latvia, Dalia Grybauskaitė and Valdis Zatlers, along with Commissioner Vladimír Špidla, the Institute’s Chair of the Management Board, Eva Welskop-Deffaa and the Director of the Institute, Virginija Langbakk unveiled the new premises at a ribbon cutting ceremony honouring the launch of one of the EU’s youngest agencies. ❙■ Both women and men have been hit by job losses in the downturn but women face a higher risk of not being re-employed and continue to be in a generally weaker position in the labour market, according to new report adopted by the European Commission on 18 December 2009. The European Commission’s annual report on equality between women and men shows that despite a generally positive trend towards a more equal society and labour market in the EU, progress in eliminating gender inequalities is slow. Beyond the current crisis, the Commission’s report underlines © Getty Images the persisting challenges for gender equality in Europe and calls for a stronger gender dimension as part of the EU’s future strategy for growth and jobs. ❙■ INTERNATIONAL EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL ISSUES The European Commission has published studies assessing Delegates from EU Member States, candidate and EEA the challenges that Belarus and Moldova face in the countries, key emerging economies, international organi- areas of poverty, social exclusion, pensions and health sations, the academic world, NGO’s and social partners care. They are the first in a series of studies examining took part in the International Conference “Social Protec- social protection and social inclusion in the countries tion: Its contribution to Recovery” held in Brussels covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). last December. The purpose of the conference was to serve Forthcoming publications will cover Ukraine (spring 2010) as a forum between EU Member States and key emerging the Southern Caucasus (2011). ❙■ economies to exchange experiences and views on the role of social protection in recovery. ❙■ 6 Social Agenda – April 2010
  7. 7. GEnDER Women still underrepresented in EU boardrooms © Getty Images Almost 9 out of 10 board up the blue-chip indices of the local stock exchanges all have less than members of the largest EU one woman in every twenty board members. The situation grows companies are men predictably worse the closer one gets to the top. The latest collection R eaching the top of any profes- of board members. On the positive of data for the European Commis- sion requires a combination of side, it must be noted that this is an sion database on women and men in hard-work, determination, talent improvement – in 2003 less than 8% decision-making found just eighteen and, for most people, a little luck. And of board members were women – women presidents of leading being a man does not hurt either, it but clearly there is still a long way to companies in the EU compared to seems. In spite of recent advances, go. Across Europe in 2009, Norway 577 men. Indeed, there are fourteen women in the European Union stood out as being the only country EU countries (i.e. more than half the continue to be under-represented in all where large companies have boards total) where not one constituent of the forms of leadership positions, particu- with anything approaching gender blue-chip index of leading companies larly on corporate boardrooms. A new equality, with just under 42% women has a woman president. report on women in senior positions and 58% men – a direct result of the released by the European Commis- legal quota implemented three years Clearly there still is a long way to go sion to coincide with International earlier. Within the EU, Sweden and to ensure anything approaching a Women’s Day paints an eloquent Finland are the only two countries with balanced gender representation in picture: in 2009 women accounted for more than 20% women on boards the boardroom. And yet, there is a an average of just 3% of the presidents (26.8% and 23.6% respectively). In growing body of evidence showing of the largest companies in each of the Luxembourg, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy that companies where women are EU member States, and less than 11% and Malta, the companies that make most strongly represented are also Social Agenda – April 2010 7
  8. 8. the companies that perform best been a central preoccupation for financially. Recent events have shown policy-makers both at EU and national that companies with more women level. Over the years legislation has in management have survived the been introduced to ensure women’s © 123RF financial crisis better, and as markets equal treatment in the workplace, around the world keep tumbling, the and to help them combine work and evidence grows stronger. family life through the availability of also increased incentives for fathers flexible working arrangements as well to spend more time caring for they Writing in The Financial Times last as childcare services and infrastruc- children. Britain, Germany and, above year, French management professor ture. Different countries have adopted all, the Netherlands are keen on Michel Ferrary noted that the only different solutions to the problem of mothers working part-time. It is difficult large French company to record combining work and parenthood. to evaluate the relative merits of these a share price gain in 2008 was Some stress the importance of very various arrangements. What is certain Hermès, whose management is 55% young children spending time with is that the trend towards more women women, the second largest share their mothers. Austria, the Czech working looks set to continue. In the among French blue chips. In general, Republic, Finland and Hungar y European Union, women have filled companies with a management at provide up to three years of paid leave 6m of the 8m new jobs created since least 38% women suffered less than for mothers. Germany has introduced 2000. In America, three out of for the CAC 40 benchmark index (though a “parent’s salary” or Elterngeld to people made jobless by the recession no others than Hermès posted a gain encourage mothers to stay at home. are men. Women will also benefit from in share price, but then who did Other countries put more emphasis the increasing “war for talent”. The in 2008?). By contrast, the largest on preschool education – the Nordic combination of an ageing workforce declines were recorded by companies countries in particular are keen on and a more skill-dependent economy with at least 75% male management. getting women back to work and means that countries will have to make Ferrary compared the performance children into kindergartens. They better use of their female populations. of French banking giant BNP Paribas, where 38.7% of managers are women and which experienced a drop in its PROMOTING ROLE MODELS share price of 39% in 2008, with that Aside from the efforts of individual companies, there are different ways of Credit Agricole, where only 16%of of raising the profile of successful women so that they become more managers are women and whose accessible as potential role models. share price plummeted by more than • Each year the Finnish weekly magazine Talouselämä (Financial Life) 62% over the same period. publishes a special issue on women directors. It also organises an annual gala for women directors, covered in a feature article, and publishes a This is because during crises, investors top-100 ranking of Finnish businesswomen. reward companies that are stable and avoid high risks. “A larger propor- • The First Women Awards were established in the United Kingdom by tion of female managers appears to Real Business magazine in co-operation with the CBI (Confederation for balance the risk-taking behaviour of British Industry). The awards aim to recognise women in business who their male colleagues.” Ferrary writes. are “glass ceiling breakers” and “whose achievement and individual “Gender diversity supports managerial actions have helped and are helping to remove barriers and open up efficiency by creating a more diverse opportunities for others to follow”. culture and favouring the exploration • The Brussels-based Eurochambres Women Network, representing of different business opportunities.” chambers of commerce and industry across Europe, has published a brochure presenting a number of successful European businesswomen So why aren’t more women reaching who have overcome stereotypical obstacles in the course of their profes- the upper echelons of economic and sional careers. financial management? They do after • The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards support women entrepreneurs, all represent 51% of the EU popula- foster their development, and celebrate their successes. The awards, tion, 45% of its workforce and no less which take place in five different locations covering all countries in the than 60% of its university graduates. world, recognise business plans that include social aspects as well as Improving women’s access and partici- profit-making. pation in the labour market has long 8 Social Agenda – April 2010
  9. 9. Goldman Sachs calculates that, leaving the people that currently take the firms have increased their efforts to other things equal, increasing women’s decisions inside companies, because maintain connections with women who participation in the labour market to they are the only ones that can directly take time off to have children and then male levels will boost GDP by 21% in influence company policy on recruit- ease them back into work. Companies Italy, 19% in Spain, 9% in France and ment and career progression and the are even rethinking careert structures, Germany and 8% in Britain. selection of their peers and succes- as people live and work longer. sors. Creating a diverse culture implies Barclays is one of many firms that But while social policies may be more a critical mass of female managers. allow five years’ unpaid leave, while or less favourable to women’s employ- To reach this point, companies must UK retailing group John Lewis offers ment, corporate models – historically recruit more women, promote them a six-month paid sabbatical to people designed by men – form the pillars and train them when the labour market who have been in the company for that keep the so-called glass ceiling does not supply enough. To be fair, the 25 years. Companies are allowing firmly in place. The dominant model corporate world is doing ever more to people to phase their retirement. in the business world equates leader- address the loss of female talent and Child-bearing years will thus make ship with unfailing availability and the difficulty of combining work with up a smaller proportion of women’s total geographical mobility, with no childcare. Many elite companies are potential working lives, so that spells space for career breaks. It is a model rethinking their promotion practices. out of the labour force will become less that is hard to combine with family Ernst & Young and other accountancy a mark of female exceptionalism. life and its attendant constraints (maternity, child-rearing, the organisa- Figure 1 - Beijing follow-up indicators tion of family life, care of the elderly etc.) which remain overwhelmingly the The proportion of women among the presidents/chairpersons responsibility of women, the so-called of the highest decision-making body of the largest publicly quoted firms “double burden”. It is little wonder on the national stock exchange then that in a study by Eurochambres 2003* 2007 2008 2009 in six EU Member States 90% of the EU-15 average 1.0% 1.0% 1.1% 1.6% women interviewed agreed that men EU-27 average 2.2% 2.9% 2.9% 3.0% are in a better position to progress in their career because women drop out The proportion of women among members of the highest decision-making due to family constraints, and 80% body of the largest publicly quoted firms on the national stock exchange saw motherhood as an obstacle to 2003* 2007 2008 2009 their careers. And of course one of EU-15 average 7.0% 8.9% 9.4% 10.9% the negative consequences of women EU-27 average 7.8% 10.3% 10.8% 10.9% having to adapt to male-imposed *2003 EU-27 averages include 2004 data for CZ, LT, MT and PL patterns in order to succeed is the perpetuation of the very models that constitute the most formidable obstacle Figure 2 - Gender balance amongst board members to women’s careers. of the largest publicly listed companies, 2009 Legislation has already lowered 100% the barriers facing women in the 90% Women Men workplace and further developments 80% should contribute to a continued, but 70% gradual, breakdown of stereotypes – 60% for example, making leave arrange- 50% ments equally available to men and 40% women should help to diminish the view that early-stage child care is 30% solely a female responsibility. 20% 10% But the most important initiatives to 0% LU CY PT IT MT EL EE AT BE IE TR PL ES SI FR EU-27 RO UK DE CZ HU RS HR NL LT IS MK LV BG DK SK FI SE NO promote gender equality in business Source: European Commission, DG EMPL, Database on women and men in decision-making. will have to come from within – from Social Agenda – April 2010 9
  10. 10. © European Union ESF in Bulgaria - Career progression A s a regional manager for a dynamic person who likes to be doing Social Fund. The courses involved large chain of filling stations things. I get restless easily.” team-building, role playing, discus- 33-year-old Biliana Filipova, sions and problem solving exercises. from Dupnitsa in Bulgaria, spends She began to work in the textile It helped her develop the skills that much of her time on the road, travel- sector, in a role related to her studies. she needs in her new role – whether ling between 19 filling stations. She has However, after a year and a half dealing with people, making decisions, overall responsibility for the day-to-day working for two different companies, prioritising and coping with difficult running of the stations, with her duties she realised she wanted to do situations. “It helped me a lot with the ranging from managing personnel, to something different. “Sometimes you job, and also skills for life in general. ensuring equipment is maintained and need to change completely to find It really made me think about how you stock is ordered, to dealing with legal satisfaction. I needed a new challenge go about finding solutions to a given issues, and responding to emergencies to get energised.” problem,” she says. such as floods. She heard that there were opportu- Thinking of the future, Biliana says: Promoted to her current position in nities working for Petrol, formerly “I’m not sure what I want exactly, March 2008, she was previously a state-run network and still one of but I know that I want to continue to managing a single station. “There’s the largest chains of fuel stations in improve and develop myself. First a lot more responsibility,” she says. Bulgaria. She was offered an interview I need to prove myself in this role.” “But I knew what the job involved for a position in management, but Back home, her life is just as busy. as I used to cover for the regional instead she chose to go for a job as Renovating the family home with manger before.” a cashier. “I didn’t want to go for a her husband is an on-going – and management position straight away, long-term – project. “We started the She outlines the qualities that she needs she says. I wanted to start at a lower renovations five years ago,” she says, in her role: “I’m able to stay calm and level as I didn’t know anything about but we still have to do more work react quickly – that’s important. And I this business.” before we can live in it,” she says, often have to deal with lots of things at adding that a few years ago all three the same time. I have to prioritise and The move paid off. Starting to work of them were living in one room while be well-organised. for the company in 2002, she applied work was being done. The rest of her herself to the job and quickly worked time is spent looking after Joanna, who Biliana originally studied industrial her way up through the ranks. “Starting is now 10, and seeing her extended engineering, specialising in technolo- as a cashier helped me a lot. Now I family. “I have two younger sisters and gies for clothes production. After know the job from the inside. I know my husband has a brother. We all live finishing her five-year Masters’ where managers can miss things.” around here and we’re very close. course, she had her daughter, Joanna. All the families get together with our “I didn’t work for three years after She took part in a series of intensive parents at weekends. “My priorities that,” she says. “But I began to get sick training sessions co-funded by the are my family and my job. I work hard of spending all my time at home. I’m a European Union through the European to ensure our security.” 10 Social Agenda – April 2010
  11. 11. FREE MOVEMEnT Free movement of workers in the EU still subject to restrictions More member states removed According to the Accession Treaty, member States do not need the barriers labour market access Commission’s permission in order to continue applying national measures for workers from the new on labour market access during the transitional period, however, Member states in 2009 but commenting on the notifications by the three countries, the then employ- restrictions remain ment and social affairs Commis- sioner Vladimir Špidla agreed that F ive years after the historic market access in comparison to the free the labour markets of Germany, enlargement of the EU by ten new access granted by EU law. The overall Austria and the UK were seriously Member States, the transitional transitional period of seven years is disturbed and recognised that arrangements that allow the other divided into three phases (lasting two, additional inflows of EU-8 workers Member States to temporarily restrict three and another two years respec- as a result of ending restrictions, the access to their labour markets for tively), and different conditions apply even if small, were a valid factor workers from these countries (except during each phase. to justify maintaining these restric- Cyprus and Malta) have entered into tions into place. At the same time, the third and final phase, and the Belgium and Denmark ended their he urged especially Germany and transitional arrangements for workers restrictions on labour market access Austria to work towards the progres- from Bulgaria and Romania into the for workers from the EU-8 Member sive opening of their labour markets second phase. States as of the beginning of the third to EU-8 workers by 2011. and final phase on 1 May 2009, thus To recall, free movement of workers bringing the number of Member States With the beginning of the second was gradually introduced in the six where EU-8 workers now enjoy the phase of the transitional arrange- original member States of the European complete right of free movement to ments for workers from Bulgaria and Economic Community between 1958 12 (out of 15). Romania on 1 January 2009, Spain, and 1968, but temporary restric- Greece, Portugal and Hungary decided tions applied for workers from The remaining three member States to end restrictions on labour market Greece, Portugal and Spain when - Germany, Austria and the United access. As Denmark decided to do the these countries joined the Union in the Kingdom - on the other hand, notified same from 1 May 2009, Bulgarian 1980s. With the last two EU enlarge- the Commission in April 2009 of serious and Romanian workers now enjoy full ments, Member States were again disturbances occurring on their labour free movement rights under EU law in given the possibility to restrict access markets, and therefore according to the a total of 14 out of 25 Member States. to their labour markets for a maximum terms of the Accession Treaty national In the Czech Republic they do not of seven years after accession. During law on labour market access continues need to apply for a work permit but in this period, Member States may ask to apply after 1 May 2009, until the remaining ten Member States that workers from eight of the ten countries 30 April 2011 at the latest. In Germany continue to restrict the labour market that joined the EU in 2004 (“EU-8”) and and Austria this means that EU-8 access of workers from Bulgaria and from Bulgaria and Romania (“EU-2”), workers need a work permit, while the Romania, the existence of different which joined in 2007, to comply with United Kingdom allows workers to start national measures mean that legal national law if they want to work in employment but asks them to register procedures and conditions for labour their country, thus restricting labour this work within 30 days. market access can vary considerably. Social Agenda – April 2010 11
  12. 12. DIsCRIMInATIOn One European in six feels discriminated against © 123RF new survey confirms race, Equality Summit under the Swedish age and disability to be Presidency. 26 756 people were interviewed in 30 countries. For the the most common grounds first time, the survey also covered the three Candidate Countries: Croatia, of discrimination the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Turkey. A round one in six people This is the third Special Euroba- New questions were added, notably in Europe claim to have rometer survey carried out by the to gauge the impact of the economic personally experienced European Commission on attitudes downturn on the level of perceived discrimination in the past year, to discrimination in the EU. It aims discrimination. according to a new opinion survey to track perceptions of people in released by the European Commis- Europe towards different forms of As in previous similar surveys, discrim- sion. Meanwhile, 64% of Europeans discrimination and diversity. ination on the ground of ethnic origin are concerned that the recession will is seen to be the most widespread contribute to more age discrimina- The sur vey was made public in form of discrimination in the EU (61%), tion in the job market. November 2009 before the third followed by discrimination based 12 Social Agenda – April 2010
  13. 13. on age (58%) and disability (53%). These data point to a strong relation- ence discrimination and/or that While perceptions of ethnic discrimi- ship between citizens defining the experience of discrimination or nation remain stable (62% in 2008), themselves as part of a minority harassment is a significant factor in there has been a significant increase group and the experience of discrim- citizens perceiving themselves to be since the 2008 survey in the number ination, and this is particularly a ‘minority’ in these term. of people who consider that discrimi- notable in the case of discrimina- nation based on age (+16 percentage tion on the grounds of disability, Overall, only one in three Europeans points since 2008) and disability (+8) ethnicity and sexual orientation. For are aware of their rights should they are the most widespread. example, a quarter of Europeans become victims of discrimination or who say that they belong to a harassment. However, this figure masks There is a clear link with the current minority group in terms of ethnic considerable differences at national economic situation, with 64% of origin also say that they have felt level. Awareness has increased since people expecting the downturn to lead discriminated against on these the last survey in 2008 in the UK to more age discrimination in the job grounds in the last 12 months. This (+8 points), France (+7), Ireland and market. This may reflect both the rising suggests either that self-perceived Sweden (each +6), but fallen in Poland unemployment among young people minorities are more likely to experi- (-12) and Portugal (-11). in many EU countries as a result of the slowdown but also growing awareness of these forms of discrimination. Perception of discrimination on the basis of… In addition, 48% of respondents – % EU consider one’s age to be a disadvan- Rare Widespread …ethnic origin tage when seeking employment. This 2009 32 61 increase of three percent with respect to 2008 33 62 last year’s level sees age becoming the …age most common perceived disadvantage 2009 2008 37 52 58 42 when seeking a job (together with a …disability candidate’s look, dress and presentation) 2009 41 53 and will no doubt colour public percep- 2008 49 45 tion of the crisis as jobs become scarcer …sexual orientation 43 47 2009 than they have been for many years. 2008 41 51 …gender Finally, there is an expectation that 2009 53 40 2008 56 36 the crisis is likely to have a generally …of religion or belief negative effect on action to tackle 2009 53 39 discrimination in terms of political and 2008 51 42 financial priority given by governments. NB: “Don’t know” and “non-existent” (SPONTANEOUS) answers are not shown Overall, 49% of Europeans expect less priority to be given to discrimination policies as a result of the economic Do you think that the economical crisis will contribute situation, while 34% disagree. to an increase of discrimination on the basis of… in the labour market? – %EU27 Personal experience of discrimina- tion by respondents remains largely Yes No DK unchanged since the same survey Age 64% 29% 7% was carried out last year, with age Ethnic origin 57% 34% 9% being the most common reason (6% Disability 56% 36% 8% of respondents). Overall, 16% of Europeans reported experiencing Gender 43% 49% 8% discrimination (on the basis of race/ Religion or belief 42% 49% 9% ethnic origin, religion, age, disability Sexual orientation 37% 52% 11% or sexual orientation) in 2009, the Source: Eurobarometer 317 same level as in 2008. Social Agenda – April 2010 13
  14. 14. In terms of reporting cases of discrimi- better acceptance of diversity. Efforts financially to national awareness- nation, most Europeans would first and policies that seek to work with this raising campaigns organized under contact the police (55%), while 35% reality will no doubt further contribute the PROGRESS programme (around would get in touch with their equality to combating discrimination and 35 projects each year totalling body and 27% with a trade union. promoting diversity. € 5.6 million in the last two years) Confidence in the various organisa- as well as supporting training for tions working with discrimination What is the Commission law professionals, NGOs and social issues however strongly differs from doing to change attitudes? partners on how to use EU equality one country to another. law .In addition, the Commission also Raising public awareness is a runs a series of networks bringing While many people consider that more long-term process which requires joint together key actors in the fight against action needs to be taken to combat efforts at European and national level, discrimination, such as national discrimination (44% on average across including important actors such as equality bodies, from around Europe. the EU), there has been a progres- National Equality Bodies. sive fall in the number of people who Further information consider that efforts are inadequate, For its part, the European Commis- suggesting rising awareness of govern- sion runs a pan-European informa- Special Eurobarometer survey on ment action. In 2006, an average of tion campaign “For Diversity – Against discrimination – summary, report and 51% of people thought that action was Discrimination” - with an annual national factsheets insufficient, falling to 47% in 2008 and budget of approximately € 4 million - 44% in 2009. to help inform people in Europe about archives/eb_special_en.htm their rights and responsibilities under Encouragingly, the survey data gives EU anti-discrimination legislation. The Tackling discrimination an insight into the social mechanisms campaign organises activities in all by which discrimination can be 27 EU Member States to make people resolved. The report shows that social more aware of discrimination and to circles, education and awareness- highlight the benefits of diversity. The raising efforts are contributing to a European Commission also contributes © 123RF 14 Social Agenda – April 2010
  15. 15. sPECIAL FEATURE © Michel Loriaux - European Union Fighting poverty and social exclusion: the European Year 2010 L ack of resources blights the lives ness and over-indebtedness. Poverty as well as at the initiatives and activi- of millions of Europeans, who end and exclusion are complex issues, ties planned all over Europe to help up excluded from what is – for with no quick-fix solution. They can achieving them. A separate article is many others – a prosperous society only be eradicated through a lasting, devoted to the role of the media. The full of opportunity. Almost 80 million concerted, collective effort by society pen is mightier of the sword, they people, 19 million of them children, as a whole, from policy- and opinion- say, and indeed the way that poverty live below the poverty line in the EU. makers to individual citizens. The 2010 and social exclusion are portrayed Despite an improvement in overall European Year for Combating poverty by newspapers and on television living standards over the past decade, and social exclusion is dedicated to directly shapes our perceptions of the poverty and social exclusion remain raising awareness of these interrelated phenomenon and our attitudes to it, major issues in most countries, albeit issues and to stimulate greater effort to in a positive or in a negative way. It with substantial differences amongst combat the problems they cause. The is therefore crucially important that them. Living with poverty and social articles you will find on the following poverty and exclusion and the people exclusion can take many forms, pages look in more detail at the philos- suffering from them are portrayed in a from not having enough to spend ophy behind the 2010 European Year, fair and accurate way, which eschews on food and clothing to homeless- at the objectives it will try to achieve, sensationalism and stereotypes. Social Agenda – April 2010 15
  16. 16. © Michel Loriaux - European Union 2010: fighting poverty and social exclusion This year’s European Year will for 8% of Europeans, having a job is not enough to work one’s way out of raise awareness of the many poverty. Finally, in most Member States, children are more exposed to this forms of poverty and exclusion scourge than the rest of the population: 19 million children are affected. affecting European citizens Why a European Year? C ombating poverty and social some figures exclusion ranks among the One decade after EU heads of state main objectives of the European Our social protection systems are and government committed to “making Union and its Member States. Despite among the most highly-developed in a decisive impact on the eradication of the efforts deployed, a significant the world and yet, today, too many poverty” the European Year Against proportion of the European popula- people in the EU still live in poverty. Poverty and Social Exclusion aims to tion still lives in destitution and has no Certain figures speak for themselves: increase awareness of the many forms access to basic services such as health almost€ 80 million people live below of poverty and social exclusion and care. This state of affairs conflicts with the poverty line (set at 60% of their inspiring people to come together to the European Union’s common values countr y’s median income). That combat them. The Year also aims to of solidarity and social justice. represents 17% of the EU’s population; show how more effective solutions to 16 Social Agenda – April 2010
  17. 17. fighting poverty and social exclusion innovative projects. National actions makers and major round tables. in the EU can be found if we are all will cover many hundreds of different This should all pave the way to a committed to making a difference, thus projects linked to national priorities s trengthened political commitment, generating a new impetus in this fight. and the objectives of the Year. from the local to the European level. Each year since 1983, Europe has Events across 29 countries Eurobarometer survey on initiated a “European Year” awareness poverty and social exclusion campaign designed to inform the All 27 EU Member States, as well citizens of Europe and dialogue with as Iceland and Nor way, have A Eurobarometer survey has provided them to work for change in mentali- signed up to the Year and are information on European perceptions ties and behaviour. These European committed to its aims. The activi- about poverty and social exclusion. It years also provide opportunities to ties are defined and implemented was carried out between 28 August draw the attention of national govern- by a national body designated by and 17 September 2009 in the EU. ments to societal themes. In 2009, the the participating country. A national Overall, nearly 27,000 citizens in all Union celebrated the European Year programme has been drawn up by EU Member States were interviewed for creativity and innovation, in 2008 each of the participating countries face-to-face, following a random intercultural dialogue, in 2007 equal and can be found on the Year’s selection of respondents. It found opportunities for all, and in 2006, website: www.2010againstpoverty. that EU citizens are strongly aware workers’ mobility. eu. At European level, a consult- of poverty and social exclusion, ative committee composed of with 73% feeling that poverty in Organisation on the ground representatives of the participating their country is widespread. High countries assists the Commission in unemployment (52%) and insufficient The key principles of the ‘2010 implementing the European Year. wages (49%) are the most widely European Year’ are decentralisa- The involvement of civil society and perceived ‘societal’ explanations for tion and coordination. Activities all stakeholders is essential. A wide poverty, together with insufficient will be prepared at EU level and at range of organisations have been social benefits and pensions (29%) national level and implemented at involved in the conception and and the excessive cost of decent all levels including regions, cities or implementation of the European Year, housing (26%). On the other hand, villages. A range of activities will including the organisations which a lack of education, training or skills be organised across Europe, such defend the interests of the people (37%), as well as ‘inherited’ poverty as awareness-raising campaigns, experiencing poverty, the social (25%) are the most widely perceived information sessions in schools, partners, local and regional authori- ‘personal’ reasons behind poverty. roundtables and training for the ties, think-tanks etc. The EY2010 will media and decision-makers, a also aim to strengthen participation Building together journalist competition, artworks and partnerships through networking a society for all created by artists and people experi- activities, national meetings of people encing poverty, and many other experiencing poverty and policy Solidarity is a fundamental value of the EU with all members of society sharing the benefits in times of prosperity and the burden in times The objectives of the European Year 2010 of difficulty. In line with this principle, Four cross-disciplinary objectives lie at the heart of this European Year: we need to build a more inclusive Recognition: To better acknowledge the rights of people living in poverty to Europe where everyone is able to play a full part in society. make a contribution to society. No one can solve poverty alone, it is a Shared responsibility and participation: To build and reinforce partner- collective responsibility. The hope for ships between all actors working to fight poverty and social exclusion and the European Year is therefore that emphasize collective and individual responsibility. all those involved will work together Cohesion: To promote a more cohesive society, where no one doubts that throughout 2010, giving a voice to society as a whole benefits from the eradication of poverty. the concerns, needs and wishes of Commitment and practical action: To renew the pledge of the EU and its people experiencing poverty, raising Member States to combat poverty and social exclusion. hope and inspiring each and every European citizen. Social Agenda – April 2010 17
  18. 18. Driving the message home A wide range of awareness- raising activities is set to reach as many people as possible A key theme of the European were invited to three field visits which corporate sector and public authorities) year is the importance of gave them the opportunity to interview are expected to get involved. collective responsibility in grass-roots practitioners. combating poverty. A wide range of Finally, a closing conference will activities are planned across Europe The second key event was the opening provide the opportunity to look back during the year to raise awareness of conference on 21 January 2010 in on the year, to showcase some of the the many forms of poverty and social Madrid, organised in partnership with successful projects and to celebrate the exclusion, help build and reinforce the Spanish presidency which officially progress made across the continent. partnerships in the field, and inspire launched the year by presenting the The conference will be organised people to engage. The events will be EU-wide campaign and setting its around a set of plenary sessions and implemented at all levels including political ambitions. interactive workshops, with a strong regions, cities and villages, providing participatory dimension. as many opportunities as possible for An art initiative will illustrate the people to participate. positive contribution that arts can In addition to these common European make in combating poverty and social events, hundreds of projects are The link between the participating exclusion. It will show examples of expected across the participating countries is a common European projects from various countries and countries, all to be developed by information and communica- media including painting and photog- stakeholders such as public authori- tion campaign co-ordinated by the raphy. It will put a particular focus ties, NGOs, social partners, founda- European Commission. It builds around on arts as a tool to rebuild confidence tions and the media. communication tools (posters, publica- and to promote social inclusion and tions, videos, website and social personal empowerment. Awareness-raising has been priori- networking tools) and features six key tised in many countries, targeting events. The first was the conference In addition, two focus weeks - one in both people experiencing poverty and “Poverty between reality and percep- May, the other in October - will give the wider public. Example of activi- tions: the communication challenge” increased visibility to the European ties include information campaigns (Brussels, 29 October 2009) which Year 2010. Rather than single on existing rights, awareness-raising aimed to analyse perceptions of poverty events, the focus weeks should be events involving ambassadors, cooper- and exclusion in Europe in a context of seen primarily as a forum for various ation with audiovisual media, use of economic crisis and explore how media events and projects, such as confer- innovative technologies and social and public authorities integrate them ences and debates but also photo networking sites, training for various into their daily work. It was preceded exhibitions, sports events, media work actors aiming to enhance knowledge by a seminar for journalists from across and festivals. The key themes will be and understanding of the reality of the EU, which focused on the part that diversity, exchange and participa- poverty and a variety of art initiatives the media plays in helping to tackle tion. Various stakeholders at EU and involving theatre groups and a travel- poverty and exclusion. Journalists national level (NGOs, social partners, ling exhibition on homelessness. 18 Social Agenda – April 2010
  19. 19.
  20. 20. The crucial task of communicating © Getty Images Media portrayals of poverty have a major role in shaping There is a key role for public adminis- public perceptions of the issue trations in working to convey messages about social exclusion and disadvan- tage. NGOs have long worked E ffective communication can The Rowntree Foundation, Media Trust effectively with the media to get their strengthen and reinforce public and Society of editors have developed messages across, but administrations administrations’ efforts to break a guide, ‘Reporting poverty in the UK, a are sometimes more wary. Action to down stereotypes and combat poverty. practical guide for journalists’ (http:// combat poverty can be much more The challenge for governments is not powerful when it is reinforced with only to decide how to make the best poverty-uk-practical-guide-journalists) strong communication. At the recent use of public communication tools, but which explores the question of how the conference on the communication also how to engage with the media. media can approach the subject. The challenge, Anne Joubert, Head of The recent conference organised by the guide suggests that while the subject the Unit “integration and access to European Commission “Poverty between of poverty may not often make the rights policy” of the French Ministry reality and perceptions: the communica- headlines, it provides plenty of opportu- of Labour talked about the need for tion challenge” started a debate which nities for features and documenta- officials to overcome any reluctance will continue throughout the year. ries. A story on poverty can also or fears about developing their use of add another dimension to reports on communication tools. She explained It is not uncommon for the media to other social issues which attract more that if we want to engage the public, come under criticism for relying on frequent coverage such as standards of it is not enough to act. Administrations stereotypes and for labelling the poor as schools and housing, health problems, need to build relationships with the ‘scroungers’ or lazy. These stereotypes substance abuse or violence. media to convey what they are doing. may be shared by a proportion of their audience and such partial portrayal One of the best ways to convey the It is hoped that the European Year in the press can do much to reinforce reality of poverty is to give voice to the 2010 will prove a decisive turning them. But journalists can also play a people who experience it. Case studies point in the struggle against poverty valuable role in challenging stereotypes are one tool which can really bring and social exclusion. Building trust and explaining the scale of poverty stories about poverty alive. If you actually between public administrations and and the factors that cause it. Accurate have cases and concrete examples, journalists is crucial and will enable and effective coverage can have a real illustrating the impact of social exclusion both to become partners in building a influence, improving understanding on a family becomes at once easier fairer society. Informed coverage can of the reality of living in poverty. Alex and more effective. Examples enable shed light on the issues, encourage Tennant, head of policy and research at the reader, viewer or listener to engage the public to take an interest in the Save the Children, Northern Ireland is with an individual set of circumstances situation of poor people and engage convinced that ‘the media is important and may help them to understand the them in the debate about how we can in informing people who are not poor impact of low income better than a set build a more inclusive Europe where about poverty… to bring the reality of of statistics or reports, which is where everyone is able to make a contribu- poverty into people’s houses.’ government’s expertise lies. tion to society. 20 Social Agenda – April 2010
  21. 21. EUROPE 2020 Putting Europe back on track © Getty Images newly launched Europe In practical terms, the Commission proposes that by the year 2020 the 2020 strategy aims at smart, EU should increase it employment rate from 69% to 75% of the popula- sustainable and inclusive growth tion aged 20-64, increase investment in research and development from 1,9% of EU GDP to 3%, and increase T he European Commission has efficient, greener and more competitive the share of 30-34 year-olds with an unveiled a new strategy which economy and, last but not least, it must university education from 31% to at aims at turning the European be inclusive, fostering high-employ- least 40%, while the share of early Union’s economy around, getting out ment and delivering territorial and school leavers should be reduced of the crisis and laying the foundations social cohesion. from the current 15% to under 10%. for a return to growth and prosperity. It may seem as a rather tall order, given the havoc wreaked by the crisis The seven flagship initiatives of Europe 2020 on EU growth and jobs. The steady • “Innovation Union” to improve framework conditions and access to gains of the last decade have been all finance for research and innovation. but wiped out, with GDP falling by 4% in 2009 and unemployment reaching • “Youth on the move” to enhance the performance of education systems 23 million – or 10% of the active and to facilitate the entry of young people to the labour market. population. Which is why Europe • “A digital agenda for Europe” to speed up the roll-out of high-speed needs to act, and to act boldly, if it is internet and reap the benefits of a digital single market for households to avoid slipping into stagnation and and firms. decline – into a “lost decade”, in the • “Resource efficient Europe” to help decouple economic growth from words of Commission President Jose the use of resources, support the shift towards a low carbon economy, Manuel Barroso. increase the use of renewable energy sources, modernise our transport sector and promote energy efficiency. The Europe 2020 Strategy therefore • “An industrial policy for the globalisation era” to improve the business sets out a vision for Europe’s social environment, notably for SMEs, and to support the development of a market economy over the next decade. strong and sustainable industrial base able to compete globally. It revolves around three key features • “An agenda for new skills and jobs” to modernise labour markets and that will be decisive in determining empower people by developing their of skills throughout the lifecycle Europe’s future success: growth must be “smart”, developing an economy • “European platform against poverty” to ensure social and territorial based on knowledge and innovation; it cohesion so that the benefits of growth and jobs are widely shared and must be sustainable, promoting a more people experiencing poverty and social exclusion are able to live in dignity and take an active part in society. Social Agenda – April 2010 21
  22. 22. “An Agenda for new skills and jobs” At EU level, the Commission will: • define and implement the second phase of the flexicurity agenda, together with European social partners; • adapt the legislative framework, in line with ‘smart’ regulation princi- The strategy proposes reducing the ples, to evolving work patterns (e.g. working time, posting of workers) number of people at risk of poverty and new risks for health and safety at work; by 20 million. It also reiterates the • facilitate and promote intra-EU labour mobility and better match labour EU’s goal of reducing its carbon supply with demand; dioxide emission by up to 30% compared to 1990. • strengthen the capacity of social partners and make full use of the problem-solving potential of social dialogue at all levels; Some of these targets will sound • give a strong impetus to the strategic framework for cooperation in familiar to those acquainted with the education and training involving all stakeholders; Lisbon strategy, originally launched in • ensure that the competences required to engage in further learning and 2000 with the stated aim of making the labour market are acquired and recognised throughout education the EU “the most dynamic and compet- and develop a common language and operational tool for education/ itive knowledge-based economy in training and work: a European Skills, Competences and Occupations the world by 2010, and indeed the framework (ESCO). Europe 2020 strategy builds on what At national level, Member States will need to: has been achieved by Lisbon and the • implement their national pathways for flexicurity and facilitate the lessons learned from it. reconciliation of work and family life; In this respect, the Commission is • review and regularly monitor the efficiency of tax and benefit systems; adamant that for Europe 2020 to be • promote new forms of work-life balance and active ageing policies and a success, member States must take increase gender equality; ownership of the strategy and make it • promote and monitor the effective implementation of social dialogue their own. To ensure that each Member outcomes; State tailors the Europe 2020 strategy • give a strong impetus to the implementation of the European Qualifi- to its particular situation, the Commis- cations Framework, through the establishment of national qualification sion proposes that EU goals are frameworks; translated into national targets and trajectories. • ensure that the competences required to engage in further learning and the labour market are acquired and recognised throughout all forms The targets, defined by President education; Barroso “ambitious but attainable”, • develop partnerships between the worlds of education/training and work. are representative of the three priori- ties of smart, sustainable and inclusive “European Platform against Poverty” growth but they are not exhaustive: a wide range of actions at national, At EU level the Commission will: EU and international levels will be • transform the open method of coordination on social exclusion and social necessary to underpin them. The protection into a platform for cooperation, peer-review and exchange of strategy identifies seven “flagship good practice, and into an instrument to take concrete action, including initiatives” that the EU should take through targeted support from the structural funds, notably the ESF; to boost growth and employment, • design and implement programmes to promote social innovation for the including an “Agenda for new skills most vulnerable, to fight discrimination, and to develop a new agenda for new jobs” and a “European for migrants’ integration; platform against poverty”. These seven flagship initiatives will commit both • undertake an assessment of the adequacy and sustainability of social the EU and the Member States. “Our protection and pension systems, and identify ways to ensure better new agenda requires a co-ordinated access to health care systems. European response, including with At national level, Member States will need to: social partners and civil society, said • promote shared collective and individual responsibility in combating President Barroso. If we act together, poverty and social exclusion; then we can fight back and come out • define and implement measures addressing the specific circumstances of of the crisis stronger.” groups at particular risk; • fully deploy their social security and pension systems to ensure adequate income support and access to health care. 22 Social Agenda – April 2010
  23. 23. S O CI A L INCL USION Tackling the health gap © 123RF Commission unveils plans level, the European Commission has to address health inequalities shown a commitment to act by issuing a Communication on Action to Reduce among and within EU countries Health Inequalities. Part of this action plan involves encouraging other sectors to consider the potential impacts of L ast October the Commission of the variation in health is a result of their decisions to make sure factors that announced a set of actions the social and economic conditions in affect people’s health are addressed to help Member States and which we live. These circumstances, in a coherent way. The Commission stakeholders tackle the health gaps known as the ‘social determinants of also aims to improve understanding which exist across the European Union. health’, produce unfair health differ- of the health gap issue. It wants to see Recent decades have seen overall ences which can be avoided. A study better monitoring and data collection improvements in people’s health and of eight European populations has as well as more assessments of how well-being as the EU has become more established a greater risk of mortality EU policies can be deployed to tackle prosperous. However differences in for people with lower education, health inequalities. To close health gaps health persist, both between and within as compared to those with higher the Commission believes that regions Member States, and in some cases the education, ranging between 22 and 43 and populations which are struggling gap is widening. As an example, a per cent in men, and 20 and 32 per should be given assistance so they can woman born in France can expect to cent in women. This demonstrates how catch up with the rest of Europe. More live 7 years longer on average than a health is closely dependent on its social attention must therefore be focused on woman born in Lithuania. Differences determinants, from education and the needs of disadvantaged people in in life expectancy at birth between poverty levels to urban planning and the provision of health services and different EU countries can be of up to access to green spaces. through health promotion and protec- 8 years for women and 14 years for tion activities. Efforts should also be men. These dramatic differences also A low socioeconomic status means made to improve living and working exist within countries. A man born in poor education, lack of amenities, conditions for the less well off. In one part of Glasgow in the UK has unemployment or job insecurity, addition to strengthening its own policy an average life expectancy at birth poor working conditions and unsafe evaluation procedures, the EU will work of 54 years, while the average life neighbourhoods, with a consequent with Member States and stakeholders expectancy at birth for a man born impact on family life. Evidence shows to identify and use best practice. As in a different part of the same city is these dimensions of social disadvan- well as producing regular statistics, the 82 years. Although the different levels tage all influence health. But health Commission will provide reports on of health between and within popula- inequalities do not only affect the less health inequalities and strategies that tions have been known and monitored well-off. These variations in health exist have proven to reduce health gaps. It for a long time, biology alone does in a social gradient across the popula- will also help Member States to obtain not provide a sufficient explana- tion, affecting everybody, and this is EU funding for improving the health tion for why they exist. Instead, more why they have been given increasing of disadvantaged people and narrow recent research has shown that much attention by decision-makers. At EU health gaps between regions. Social Agenda – April 2010 23