“It is precisely those European countries with the most effective social protection systems and with the most developed social partnership that are among the most successful and competitive economies in the world.”
This quote from José Manuel Durão Barroso, former President of European Commission, inspired the approach of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development which has just adopted a draft resolution on "Towards a new European Social Model" on the basis of a report drafted by Maria de Belém Roseira (Portugal, SOC). The report is due to be debated during the June part-session of the Assembly.
"The European Social Model is a set of shared principles with various country-specific expressions across the continent", explained Ms Roseira, "but it is currently under threat due to globalisation, technological change and demographic trends, as well as the effects of the financial and economic crisis and austerity measures".
The committee agreed that member States needed to be alerted to the continuous downgrading of employment and working conditions, the difficulties faced by young people in accessing the labour market, the weakening of collective bargaining mechanisms and the reduction of the scope and quality of public services (including for the most vulnerable: ethnic minorities, migrants or people with disabilities). The committee called for appropriate measures to address these challenges, through socio-economic policies, through educational and fiscal policies and also via a targeted budget allocation to social protection system.