Social Policy : Commission Unveils Renewed Social Agenda
The European Commission adopted, on 2 July, a renewed social agenda' meant to ensure that "EU policies provide a real response to the socioeconomic challenges of our time". Seven priority areas are identified: children and young people; investing in people, creating more and better jobs, encouraging new skills; mobility; supporting longer and healthier lives; fighting poverty and social exclusion; fighting discrimination and promoting gender equality; and promoting opportunities, access and solidarity on the global scene.
The Commission proposes to mobilise a combination of instruments: EU legislation, social dialogue, cooperation between member states, EU funding (Structural Funds, Globalisation Adjustment Fund and PROGRESS programme), "partnership, dialogue and communication" and EU policies in support of opportunities, access and solidarity.
The following actions are planned for 2008-2009:
-adevelopment of an open method of coordination for youth
-aa more overarching approach to child poverty
-aan initiative on new jobs, new skills'
-aa renewed framework for an open method of coordination on education and training
-aa communication on multilingualism
-aa communication on the needs of the elderly population (autumn 2008)
-aan update of the report on the impact of ageing on public finances (spring 2009) and the long-term sustainability of public finances (autumn 2009)
-aa communication on inequalities in health care (2009)
-aa communication and recommendation on patient safety and the quality of health care services
-aa green paper on health professionals
-aa recommendation on active inclusion
-asignificant extension of the food aid programme for Europe's most deprived people
-ainitiatives to improve internet and cell phone deployment in under-served areas
-aa report on application of the road map on gender equality (2008) and an evaluation of the strategy
-alegislative proposals on reconciling private and professional life (September 2008)
-aexploration of legislative means of reducing the wage gap between men and women, and actions to reduce the gender gap in entrepreneurship
-aa report on the Barcelona targets for child care services (September 2008)
-afocus work under the open method of coordination on reducing the risk of poverty for women
-aencouragement of corporate social responsibility. …