Posted on Monday 25th February 2013
European Commission adopted on 20 February 2013 an important social initiative, the Social Investment Package (SIP), calling on Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states.
Social investment: Commission urges Member States to focus on growth and social cohesion
The European Commission has called on Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states. This means better performing active inclusion strategies and a more efficient and more effective use of social budgets. The call features in a Communication on Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion just adopted by the Commission. The Social Investment Package builds upon the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion and complements other recent Commission initiatives to address Europe's social and economic challenges, namely the Employment Package, Youth Employment Package and the White Paper on Pensions. These initiatives have given Member States additional guidance on national reforms needed to honour commitments to the agreed Europe 2020 targets.
What is the Social Investment Package?
The Social Investment Package (SIP) sets out a framework for policy reforms to render social protection more adequate and sustainable, to invest in people’s skills and capabilities, and to support people throughout the critical moments experienced across their lives. The Communication also offers guidance to Member States on how best to use EU financial support, notably from the European Social Fund, to implement the outlined objectives. The Commission will closely monitor the performance of individual Member States' social protection systems through the European Semester and formulate, where necessary, Country Specific Recommendations.
What is social investment?
Social investment helps people to adapt to societal challenges such as a changing labour market, and helps people to avoid hardship such as falling into poverty or losing their homes. Examples are early childhood education and care, prevention of early school leaving, lifelong learning, training and job-search assistance, housing support, accessible health services and facilitating living independently in old age. Social investment is one of the functions of social policies, alongside social protection and stabilisation of the economy.
For further information on what is included in the SIP, see the relevant documents here.