The Assembly welcomes the report of the High-Level Task Force on Social Cohesion. It assesses the current situation and sets forth a series of ideas for policy reforms. It offers guidance for policy changes in the field of social cohesion at national and international levels, and its aim is also to prioritise certain actions, especially for the Council of Europe.
Social cohesion is at the core of the European project. High levels of cohesion are a distinctive mark of European societies and are essential to the fulfillment of the citizens’ needs and aspirations by ensuring the effectiveness of full citizenship and equal opportunities for all.
The complexity of poverty and exclusion situations call for integrated strategies with the double aim of protection and empowerment. The distinctive Council of Europe approach to social cohesion is indeed to treat access to rights for all as an essential reference for a cohesive society.
In nearly all areas of reform, the revised European Social Charter contains provisions which most of the member states accept. Yet the public and the political decision makers are both insufficiently aware of its content. The rights it enshrines must be publicised more widely, and used in the process of creating a social Europe. As it is also stated in the recommendations of the High-Level Task Force on Social Cohesion: “it is necessary to add more value to the work of the Council of Europe on social cohesion which tends to remain too confidential, known only by a relatively small group of civil servants and specialists”.
In order to disseminate the recommendations of the High-Level Task Force on Social Cohesion among parliamentarians as widely as possible, these should be considered and discussed by the Parliamentary Assembly.