Social Policy : Andor Presents Action Plan for Social Europe

Article excerpt

In 2010, Commissioner Laszlo Andor (employment, social affairs and inclusion) aims to take forward the Europe 2020' flagship initiatives and to tackle the pension problem. As he presented his work programme to the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), on 27 April, he openly recognised that social Europe is still largely a pipedream. "I agree with you," he told Emilie Turunen (Greens-EFA, Denmark), "we don't have a social Europe yet. The figures are there to prove it. But my aim is to strengthen this social dimension of the European model and I am certain that Europe 2020' will help. [ ] Three of the seven flagship initiatives present a social dimension (reducing poverty, creating new jobs and enhancing education)."

SUPPORTING 2020 OBJECTIVES

To implement the flagship initiative on young people, the Commission will present a communication on youth and employment. More specifically, this communication on unemployment among young people will be published at the end of 2010: it will outline strategic measures to boost job opportunities for young people, encourage apprenticeships and training and improve the transition from school to work.

To take forward the second social initiative on skills and jobs, the commissioner will present a (non-legislative) strategy around October 2010. This programme will set out European priorities for improving participation in the labour market and striking a better balance between supply and demand. On the ultrasensitive issue of revision of the Working Time Directive, the commissioner promised to come forward with a proposal by the end of the year.

The Commission will also publish a communication on A European platform to combat poverty' in late 2010, based on its collaboration with the Social Protection Committee. This initiative will define national measures to combat social exclusion and will build in particular on the lessons learnt from the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010).

In the context of the ageing of the population, the Commission will present, in the coming weeks, a green paper on the future of pensions. This initiative will review options for ensuring the continuity and adequacy of pensions. A German insurance firm recently revealed (March 2010) that in 2010 the number of inhabitants aged 60 to 64 would for the first time surpass the 15-19 age group. …