Magazine article European Social Policy

European Council/social Policy : Summit Timidly Reinforces Emu's Social Dimension

Magazine article European Social Policy

European Council/social Policy : Summit Timidly Reinforces Emu's Social Dimension

Article excerpt

After an agreement in principle in October, the EU's heads of state and government officially approved, on 20 December 2013, the use of social development and employment key indicators for the 2014 European semester' exercise. Nevertheless, unlike their ministers for labour, the leaders felt that these new tools should be used for analysis rather than for decision making. The EU 28's conclusions, adopted on 20 December, as an outcome of their summit, stipulates just that: "The use of this wider range of [social and employment indicators] will have the sole purpose of allowing a broader understanding of social developments".

The "social dimension" of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) corresponds to the capacity of economic governance mechanisms and various intervention strategies to identify, to take into account and overcome difficulties and problematic trends related to policies set up by the EMU in the areas of social policy and employment. Following appeals from the member states, last October, the European Commission proposed the implementation of a scoreboard with five headline indicators (unemployment, youth, income, poverty and inequality), which it then integrated into its draft Joint employment report' (JER). Furthermore, it proposed to add an alert mechanism of auxiliary indicators, which would allow for the social repercussions of macroeconomic imbalances to be taken into account. The Commission also backed a set of social standards, such as efficient welfare state services.

The European Council was supposed to go down this road. However, the conclusions are really quite basic: they make no reference to auxiliary indicators (which the EU28 really came down hard on) or social standards. …

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