Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Policy / European Parliament : European Social Model Is an Asset Not a Problem

Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Policy / European Parliament : European Social Model Is an Asset Not a Problem

Article excerpt

The European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee approved a joint Socialist-EPP own-initiative report on the "European social model for the future" on 22 June. Drafted by Ireland's Proinsias De Rossa (PES) and Portugal's Jose Albino Silva Peneda (EPP-ED), the report was approved by 36 votes to four. It will be debated in plenary at the beginning of September.

A QUESTION OF VALUES

"The European social model is first and foremost a question of values", argue the report's authors. "Whatever European social system we examine we find the common values of equality and solidarity and redistribution as fundamentals". This model is then applied through a diversity of national systems, and this diversity "is important to recognise". Academics distinguish four social models: Nordic, Anglo-Saxon, Continental and Mediterranean.

Another element highlighted in the report is the "success of the European social model". In spite of certain failings and the need for reforms, this model is "known around the world for providing a high quality of life". However, there are also a number of challenges: demographic changes, technological developments, and globalisation and their implicit pressure on public spending "necessitate an urgent reform of the social systems".

The authors argue that, contrary to the belief in certain quarters, "the European social model is not the main EU problem". Competitiveness and social model "are not opposites, but rather interdependent", according to the MEPs. …

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