ESN’s questions to the Commissioner-designate for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility

"After years of economic hardship and often painful reforms, Europeans expect a performing economy, sustainable jobs, more social protection, safer borders, energy security and digital opportunities. Today I am presenting the team that will put Europe back on the path to jobs and growth.” (Jean-Claude Juncker, President-elect of the European Commission)

The new European Commission has been unveiled today and Marianne Thyssen was announced as the Commissioner-designate for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. The next step is for Commissioners-designate to be approved by the European Parliament, following hearings with MEPs in the competent committees; the hearings aim to identify the candidates’ policy priorities and put an emphasis on future commitments.

Ahead of the hearings with Commissioners-designate, the European Social Network (ESN) would like to put forward some questions and issues of concern for public social services in Europe which we hope would be taken into account by the Members of the European Parliament.

You can find a summary below and more information here


Europe 2020 and the European Semester

In 2010, the EU and its Member States committed themselves to “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” through the Europe 2020 Strategy. The strategy includes the targets of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion, reducing the number of early school leavers and raising employment levels to 75% for the 20-64 year-olds. The analysis “Employment and Social Developments in Europe 2013” by the European Commission and the EU Social Protection Committee shows that poverty amongst the working population has increased by nearly a quarter of the EU population at risk of poverty or exclusion . The unemployment rate has gone up to more than 11%, reaching particularly high levels in Latvia, Spain, Ireland, Greece and Bulgaria. Moreover, the increasing inequalities also contributed to declining trust in European institutions.

Questions to Commissioner-designate

  • How will you ensure that local and regional social services are involved in the EU social policy framework, specifically the European Semester process?

  • How will you monitor that national targets and their indicators contribute to the social targets of Europe 2020?


Social Investment Package

The policy proposals promoted by the Social Investment Package launched in 2013 argue for a recalibration of welfare and health towards a social investment model. It promotes measures “strengthening people’s current and future capacities” and a more efficient and effective use of social budgets.

Questions to Commissioner-designate

  • What initiatives would you undertake to encourage the analysis and assessment of the social impact of economic reforms?


Investing in services

ESN members would like to focus their services more on preventative and rehabilitative measures. This involves measures that delay or reduce care needs, such as health promotion or social participation, or the investment in early support measures for children and their families. However, especially in the countries most affected by the financial and economic crisis, local and regional authorities have had to re-focus on emergency measures.

Questions to Commissioner-designate

  • How will you support regional and local welfare departments to develop services that are based on a person-centred approach?