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 Commission consider 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 Commission intend to increase investment?
2. Does the Commission consider that its country-specific recommendations (CSRs) should call on Member States for more ambitious commitments in their national reform programmes (NRPs), since most current NRP targets are not demanding enough in order for countries to meet the Europe 2020 strategy goals?
3. Has the Commission considered increasing the contribution of the EU budget towards the achievement of the Europe 2020 employment and social targets? Would the Commission agree that there is a need to focus more on results-based policymaking?
4. What would be the effects if employment and poverty reduction targets were to be made as binding as those of fiscal consolidation, in order to put social considerations on a par with macroeconomic ones? How does the Commission envisage supporting Member States to ensure that they reach their Europe 2020 strategy targets?