Since 2010, the number of citizens unemployed or at risk of poverty and social exclusion has, on average, risen in the EU, with 120 million Europeans living in poverty or at risk of poverty. According to Commission forecasts, an additional 16 million employed citizens are required in order to meet the 75 % employment rate target of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Furthermore, divergences in employment rates are growing between Member States and across regions, thereby risking the chance of increased social imbalances being created in the long term.
1. Does the Council believe that the economic crisis, together with fiscal consolidation, resulted in reduced investment for the purpose of achieving the Europe 2020 employment and social targets? If so, does the Council intend to increase investment?
2. Does the Council consider that the new employment and social scoreboard would provide a more thorough picture of Member States’ progress if complemented with additional indicators? If so, which additional indicators are needed?
3. What would be the effects if employment and poverty reduction targets were made as binding as those of fiscal consolidation, in order to put social consideration on a par with macroeconomic ones?
4. Does the Council believe that, in order to reach the Europe 2020 employment targets, there is a need to remove barriers to growth and job creation such as strengthening the single market, reducing the regulatory burden of EU legislation and putting in place conditions for businesses to create jobs?
5. How does the Council envisage increasing the involvement at Member State level of social partners and civil society, particularly social NGOs, to ensure the successful implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy?