The report of Sofia Ribero (EPP, PT) has been adopted in plenary by 404 votes to 201 with 35 abstentions on 26 February. The Rapporteur highlighted the importance of the social pillar in the European Semester and expressed that greater efforts and structural investments were necessary to reach convergence in the EU. Follow the European Parliament hearing about the European Semester. Check out also the country reports for this European Semester and send us your feedback.
An overview on the main outcomes in terms of housing
Need for Structural reforms
In the light of one of the five Europe 2020 targets that aims at reducing by at least 20 million the number of people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion, the report highlights that it is essential to take into account specific microeconomic circumstances and the need for further socially just structural reforms. Further, the report highlights the need for public authorities to introduce comprehensive and socially responsible policies with the objectives of promoting sufficiency in social security systems and active ageing.
Principle of Subsidiarity
The report welcomes the Commission's call for investment in services such as housing support, healthcare, childcare and rehabilitation services; and underlines that economic and social cohesion should remain the primary objective of all EU policies and that more efforts should be made to carry out a more complex and objective evaluation based on the Member States’ diversity and characteristics.
Encourages the Member States to consider applying more favourable fiscal differentiation in line with the number of children in a household; calls on the Member States to provide families with assistance not only by means of financial support but also in the form of services. Also, the report stresses the need to guarantee suitable forms of collaboration between public and private employment services at local, national and European level and social support services.
Avoiding social exclusion and homelessness
The report emphasises the urgent need to ensure that the EU's efforts to fight poverty and social exclusion actively address the growing numbers of homeless people, who are currently not captured by the indicators used to measure the EU poverty target but who represent an alarming social reality affecting at least 4 million people every year.
Socially responsible reforms must be based on solidarity, integration, social justice and a fair distribution of wealth - a model that ensures equality and social protection, protects vulnerable groups and improves living standards for all citizens;
Better use of EU Funds
The Commission should provide better information on all European funds and programmes that have the potential to boost investment and access to financing, such as the programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME), the programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI); recalls the importance of the partnership principle, of a bottom-up approach and of adequate resource allocation.
The Commission should ensure that the EFSI enables a better social and economic convergence of Member States and their regions within the EU and that all Member States make use of the possibility of accessing this fund. Finally, the report recalls that 20 % of European Social Fund expenditure should be used to address poverty and social exclusion in the Member States.
Investing in social services
The report underlines the high societal and economic value of investment in social protection, including social services; states that such social investment should be given more flexibility within the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure, therefore encouraging Member States to invest in social services for positive social and economic development.
The report welcomes the Commission’s call on Member States to increase their social investment in order to boost European economic, territorial and social cohesion, especially in healthcare and long-term care as well as social services, childcare, housing support and rehabilitation services.
The Commission should propose an integrated anti-poverty strategy for the EU, in order to tackle the multidimensionality of poverty for all groups, especially the most vulnerable ones, and promote integrated active inclusion.
While the Member States should ensure that the mentioned systems offer an adequate standard of living for the unemployed and those at risk of poverty and social exclusion, while guaranteeing that such mechanisms do not perpetuate social dependency and ensure access to education, training and opportunities to enter the labour market; the report calls on the Commission and the Member States to exchange best practices on reducing inequality and social exclusion in Europe.
Helping integration of refugees
The report encourages the Member States to take adequate measures to help refugees settle and integrate, as well as ensuring that public services are sufficiently resourced and that there is early anticipation of requirements. Finally, it calls on the Commission to boost the quality of social dialogue also at the European level and to provide adequate monitoring and follow-up of the implementation of the CSRs and to ensure that there is an adequate focus on employment and social inclusion issues.
European economic governance and housing policy : tell us what you think of the latest European Commission Country ReportsRead More
As every year around March, the European Commission has published a report on the economic situation of every Member State, including in many cases a chapter on housing. From now on until the publication of the recommendations of the European Commission in May, there is an opportunity to make your voice heard on the analysis of the EC and putting forward your own recommendations to improve the situation in the housing sector in your country.
As explained in the toolkit available on our website, it is important to discuss those reports and your recommendations with the EC officials in charge of analysing your country. We at Housing Europe can also convey your messages by meeting key people at the European Commission.
If you have any comment on your country report, please forward to us by March 14th.
Semester Alliance Hearing
On 1 March, the EU Semester Alliance held a hearing in the European Parliament to launch the discussions on the 2016 European Semester. Bringing together civil society and trade unions, the Alliance presented its proposals to make the Semester more democratic, social and sustainable. The EP’s rapporteur Sofia Ribeiro (EPP) of the Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2016 presented her recently adopted report. She highlighted the strong role the EP should play in the European Semester.
Although some progress was made in the Annual Growth Survey, many stakeholders regret the loss of attention and emphasis given to the Europe 2020 strategy, particularly on the long overdue proposal for its mid-term review.