On 21 March 2016, Housing Europe participated at Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth, organised every year by the European Commission. The Convention brought together policy makers and civil society to discuss what the EU can do to ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen presented the new initiative of the EU Pillar of social rights. The main axes of the Pillar may be summarized in three points:
- Equal opportunities and access to the labour market;
- Fair working conditions and
- Access to quality and affordable services such as health care and long term care, housing or childcare.
The key points about the timeline of the initiative are the following:
- The Commission presented the initiative with a consultation on 8 March 2016 which will last until the end of the year (The final proposal of the Pillar is coming in early 2017)
- The Pillar is a contribution to the work on the White Paper on the future of Europe's EMU, foreseen in spring 2017.
- Relevant event happening in May: Hearing with social partners
The one-day event included workshops that explored how the EU may deliver sustainable, long-term inclusive growth in a more efficient way. Housing Europe participated actively to the brainstorming at the workshops by sharing its views on the case of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI):
- giving more transparent and sector specific information about the criteria, in particular on the Project Portal website
- the Advisory Hub needs social experts to advocate on the framework of the Programme and the evaluation mechanisms
- social actors need more encouragement from municipalities, regions and EU level
At the workshop on EFSI participants agreed that the Programme is an opportunity but in any case adequate funding for the continuity of social services is needed.
In the closing remarks of the day, the housing sector has been highlighted as a great opportunity for social investment.