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Wednesday, 12 June 2013 - Strasbourg
Social investment for growth and cohesion

European Parliament resolution of 12 June 2013 on the Commission Communication ‘Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020’ (2013/2607(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 5, 6, 9, 14, 147, 148, 149, 151 and 153 thereof, and to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Articles 24, 25, 26, 29, 33, 34, 35 and 36,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020’ (COM(2013)0083),

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ (2013/112/EU)(1),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Evidence on Demographic and Social Trends: Social Policies’ Contribution to Inclusion, Employment and the Economy’ (SWD(2013)0038),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Follow-up on the implementation by the Member States of the 2008 European Commission recommendation on active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market - Towards a social investment approach’ (SWD(2013)0039),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘3rd Biennial Report on Social Services of General Interest’ (SWD(2013)0040),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Long-term care in ageing societies - Challenges and policy options’ (SWD(2013)0041),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Confronting Homelessness in the European Union’ (SWD(2013)0042),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Investing in Health’ (SWD(2013)0043),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Social investment through the European Social Fund’ (SWD(2013)0044),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 November 2012 on the Annual Growth Survey 2013 (AGS) (COM(2012)0750), and the Draft Joint Employment Report annexed thereto,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2013 on the European Semester for Economic Policy Coordination: employment and social aspects in the 2013 Annual Growth Survey(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020: a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 April 2012 entitled ‘Towards a job-rich recovery’ (COM(2012)0173),

–  having regard to the question for oral answer to the Commission and the accompanying resolution of Parliament of 14 June 2012 on ‘Towards a job-rich recovery’(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 November 2010 entitled ‘an Agenda for new skills and jobs: a European contribution towards full employment’ (COM(2010)0682),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2011 on the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 December 2010 entitled ‘The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: A European framework for social and territorial cohesion’ (COM(2010)0758), and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(5) and the resolution of Parliament of 15 November 2011 on that subject(6),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 December 2011 entitled ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’ (COM(2011)0933),

–  having regard to the question for oral answer to the Commission and the accompanying resolution of Parliament of 24 May 2012 on the Youth Opportunities Initiative(7),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 December 2012 entitled ‘Moving Youth into Employment’(COM(2012)0727),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 September 2010 on developing the job potential of a new sustainable economy(8),

–  having regard to the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020) adopted by the Council on 7 March 2011,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 October 2008 on a Commission Recommendation on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market (COM(2008)0639) and to its resolution thereon of 6 May 2009(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2013 on the integration of migrants, its effects on the labour markets and the external dimension of social security coordination(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2011 on the future of social services of general interest(11),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2008 entitled ‘Renewed social agenda: Opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st century Europe’ (COM(2008)0412) and its resolution thereon of 6 May 2009(12),

–  having regard to the Commission communication on the long-term sustainability of public finances for a recovering economy (COM(2009)0545) and its resolution thereon of 20 May 2010(13),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006 (COM(2011)0607/2 - 2011/0268 (COD)) of 14 March 2012 and the draft legislative resolution thereon of 20 August 2012(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2012 on ‘The Social Business Initiative – Creating a favourable climate for social enterprises, key stakeholders in the social economy and innovation’(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2013 on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility: promoting society’s interests and a route to sustainable and inclusive recovery’(16),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2012 on ‘The Social Investment Pact - as a response to the crisis’(17),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 16 February 2012 entitled ‘An Agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions’ (COM(2012)0055),

–  having regard to ILO Convention No 117 on Social Policy (basic aims and standards),

–  having regard to ILO Recommendation No 202 on Social Protection Floors,

–  having regard to the question for oral answer to the Commission on its communication ‘Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014-2020’ (O-000057/2013 – B7-0207/2013),

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in many Member States fiscal consolidation measures have led to the favouring of short-term expenditure goals at the expense of investment in sustainable growth, employment, social cohesion and competitiveness in order to achieve the Europe 2020 strategy goals;

B.  whereas the sovereign debt crisis that has hit Europe, and especially the eurozone countries, has led to a severe economic downturn with negative social consequences for most Member States through rising unemployment, poverty rates and social exclusion;

C.  whereas the crisis has brought to the fore the economic interdependence of Member States and the considerable divergence in Member States’ capacity to respond to labour market and social challenges;

D.  whereas the crisis, combined with demographic change, makes it urgent for Member States to improve the effectiveness of social spending and to design the potential reforms of their social protection system in line with this objective;

E.  whereas social partners at national level can play an important role in the financing and running of social security systems;

F.  whereas well-targeted and efficient social investments help stabilise the economy, promote employment and enhance the skills of the labour force, thus boosting the EU’s competitiveness;

G.  whereas the growing skill intensity of available jobs and the skills needed for future job- rich sectors, adapted to a sustainable economy and society, require adequate investment in education and training programmes;

H.  whereas average EU household incomes are declining, and long-term unemployment as well as poverty and social exclusion including in-work poverty and social polarisation are on the rise in many Member States;

I.  whereas 10,5 % of the working-age population are now unemployed;

J.  having regard to the statement by the European Council of 30 January 2012, which reads: ‘Growth and employment will only resume if we pursue a consistent and broad-based approach, combining a smart fiscal consolidation preserving investment in future growth, sound macroeconomic policies and an active employment strategy preserving social cohesion’;

K.  whereas the effects of economic stagnation and the persistent public debt crisis, combined with demographic change, challenge social welfare systems and decent social security arrangements, including statutory and voluntary social insurance schemes;

L.  whereas 22,8 % of young people in the EU are currently unemployed, with youth unemployment exceeding 50 % in some Member States;

M.  whereas 8,3 million Europeans under 25 are neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs); whereas these figures continue to rise, posing the risk of a lost generation;

N.  whereas young people with a migrant background are at greater risk of exiting the education and training system without having obtained an upper secondary qualification;

O.  whereas 27 % of children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to an average of 24 % for the EU population as a whole(18);

P.  whereas 8 % of EU citizens are living in conditions of severe material deprivation and cannot afford a number of necessities that are considered essential for living a decent life in Europe;

Q.  whereas 15 % of children leave school without completing secondary education, and 10 % of EU citizens are living in jobless households;

R.  whereas the Social Protection Committee (SPC) has warned that these numbers are continuing to rise in many Member States, partly due to the impact of fiscal consolidation measures;

S.  whereas the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and people with disabilities, have been those most severely affected by the financial, economic and social crisis;

T.  whereas social policies are primarily the competence of the Member States and the EU’s role is to support, assist and complement their activities;

U.  whereas having a decent job is a real protection against poverty;

V.  whereas active labour market policies and activation strategies are key to helping the unemployed find a decent job;

W.  whereas suitable individual guidance for those looking for a decent job can improve their chances of success;

X.  whereas austerity measures, including cuts in public services and welfare budgets, must not be allowed to worsen the situation for the most disadvantaged or to put people unnecessarily at risk of unemployment;

Y.  whereas austerity measures must not be allowed to jeopardise the availability, accessibility and affordability of healthcare and long-term care services or to exacerbate health inequalities;

Z.  whereas the economic crisis is liable to affect women more than men; whereas there is a risk that the current recession will delay advances, or even reverse progress, with long-term consequences for social protection systems, social inclusion and demography;

AA.  whereas any stringent budgetary policy needs to be intelligent, with scope for counter-cyclical investment in major policy priorities and in line with economic performance and productivity;

AB.  whereas marginalised communities live in deplorable socio-economic conditions and are often subjected to serious discrimination and segregation in all aspects of life;

AC.  whereas the first indications that a young person is likely to drop out of school are an early warning sign of a recurring cycle of poverty;

AD.  whereas homelessness remains a problem in all EU Member States, and is one of the most extreme forms of poverty and deprivation, eroding human dignity and compromising the fundamental human right to access to housing;

AE.  whereas guaranteeing access to decent housing is an international obligation incumbent on all Member States, under which social housing is provided in parallel with market-based housing supply;

AF.  whereas homeless people require specific measures to integrate them into society and avoid social exclusion;

AG.  whereas poverty and social exclusion remain a key social determinant of health and living conditions, particularly in view of the impact of child poverty on child health and well-being;

AH.  whereas gender discrimination at work, the gender pay gap and the consequent pension disparities remain persistent in the EU;

AI.  whereas only 63 % of women in the EU work, compared with 76 % of men, partly owing to the lack of care facilities and of concrete measures to help achieve a healthy work-life balance;

AJ.  whereas the gender dimension is crucial to achieving the EU 2020 headline targets, as women form the greatest reserve of as yet unused labour power; whereas, therefore, concrete measures and specific policies for gender mainstreaming must be developed as part of the European Semester;

AK.  whereas women form the majority of heads of household, single parents and carers, and active inclusion policies require an all-encompassing set of measures to enable them to increase their participation in the labour market;

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s Social Investment Package, which establishes the necessary links between national social policies, the process of the European Semester reforms and the relevant EU Cohesion Fund allocations;

2.  Notes that the Commission communication adds to the original function of social protection of welfare systems those of social investment and stabilisation of the economy; stresses that the current economic and social crisis highlights the need for these three functions to be complementary rather than opposite;

3.  Reiterates the need to improve the coordination of social and economic policies at EU level so as to avoid discrepancies, build synergies between them and allow them to reinforce each other’s objectives;

4.  Stresses that the most efficient tool to fight unemployment in the long run is economic growth;

5.  Regrets the fact that the communication is accompanied by a recommendation in only one area while austerity measures have a major impact in several social policy fields;

6.  Is convinced that social policy reforms should be guided notably by the principles of active inclusion and activation - enabling the unemployed and the most disadvantaged to enter and participate in the labour market;

7.  Recalls that social investments generate both social and economic returns by preventing and addressing social risks; stresses that social investment focuses on public policies and human capital investment strategies which facilitate transition in changing labour markets and enable the acquisition of new skills for future job-rich sectors adapted to a sustainable economy and society;

8.  Stresses that social investment should be regarded as investment by Member States, and that this may give rise to a double dividend with long-term returns and countercyclical effects, thus lowering the risk of damage; calls on the Commission to carry out an analysis to determine which parts of public social expenditure can be considered as productive investment;

9.  Considers, in this connection, that targeted social investments should be an important part of Member States’ economic and employment policies and should be incorporated in the European Semester process, with a view to achieving the employment, social and educational objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy;

10.  Welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s call on the Member States to include social investments in their medium and long-term budgetary targets, as well as in their National Reform Programmes;

11.  Reiterates that resources for social policies are not exclusively provided by the public sector;

12.  Emphasises, therefore, that Member States should make more use of innovative approaches to financing, including participation by the private sector and financial engineering through instruments such as social impact bonds, public-private partnerships, microfinance, the social investment passport and policy-based guarantees;

13.  Urges the Member States, therefore, also to involve social enterprises, since they can complement public-sector efforts;

14.  Calls on the Commission, in this context, to consider developing a scoreboard for common social investment indicators, which would constitute a warning mechanism for monitoring progress in the Member States;

15.  Welcomes the Commission’s insistence on allocating at least 25 % of cohesion policy funding to human capital and social investment through the European Social Fund;

16.  Calls on the Member States to ensure the efficient monitoring of social policy expenditure, in order to channel resources into targeted and efficient measures and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens;


17.  Urges the Member States to modernise, and, where needed, structurally reform their social investment policies without delay, in order to offer the best possible services to citizens;

18.  Stresses that the Member States should make their social investment policy sustainable and future-proof by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the system and the resources available;

19.  Emphasises that where they are willing to improve the sustainability of social investment policies, Member States should not necessarily ‘spend more’, but should ’spend more efficiently and effectively’;

20.  Calls on the Member States, therefore, to ensure that their social investment policy is target-oriented, and to undertake frequent monitoring of progress;

Combating poverty and social exclusion

21.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to address in-work poverty, poverty among people with limited or no links to the labour market, and poverty among elderly people in its next country-specific recommendations; calls on the European Council to endorse the above guidelines as a priority;

22.  Stresses the important components of the European strategy for the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market, namely sufficient income support, inclusive labour markets, and access to quality services; regrets that national active inclusion strategies are too often reduced to employment activation, excluding de facto people who are outside the labour market and for whom returning to it is not an option, for example owing to their age or functional limitations;

23.  Reminds the Member States that active inclusion policies should:

   be consistent with a life-cycle approach to education, lifelong learning and social and employment policies;
   be tailor-made, targeted and needs-oriented, as well as being grounded in universal access and non-discrimination;
   be based on an integrated approach and be participative in nature;
   respect the prior conditions which are essential to allow participation while not creating conditions that endanger a minimum living income; and
   follow, given the importance of local and regional circumstances, the direction of efforts made within the framework of the cohesion policy to achieve economic, social and territorial cohesion;;

24.  Calls on the Member States to systematically assess the impact of austerity measures on vulnerable groups in the framework of active inclusion policies;

25.  Calls on the Member States to ensure the quality of social services for those eligible for them, including their availability, accessibility and affordability, especially in the areas of health, long-term care, education, social housing, energy, water, transport and communications;

26.  Stresses the need to raise the productivity of care delivery, reducing the incidence of frailty and disability and enabling the elderly to continue to manage independent living, even in case of functional limitations;

27.  Calls on the Member States to consider the introduction of social default tariffs for vulnerable groups in fields such as energy, water and public transport;

28.  Calls for the active involvement of organisations representing marginalised communities in the drafting and implementation of integration strategies for those communities, such as the national Roma integration strategies up to 2020;

29.  Regrets the fact that in many Member States insufficient efforts are being made to integrate migrants; stresses the need to invest in appropriate programmes and services and in efficient information systems regarding access to these programmes, in order to facilitate the integration of migrants and reduce the risk of social exclusion;

30.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a concrete and detailed roadmap for the implementation of active inclusion strategies; stresses that this roadmap should specify timelines and realistic targets, on the basis of specific indicators and detailed dialogue between the interested parties, and should be closely monitored through the Open Method of Coordination, with relevant tools and procedures being available in case of non-compliance;

Combating child poverty

31.  Welcomes the Commission’s recommendation on child poverty, as announced in its communication entitled ‘Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: a European framework for Social and Territorial Cohesion’; further recalls the rights of the child as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

32.  Welcomes the comprehensive approach promoted in the recommendation, which is based on the three pillars of access to adequate resources, access to high-quality services and participation in society and decision-making, and which recognises children as rights holders;

33.  Reiterates that all children and young people have the right to education under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, including children and young people who do not have a residence permit in the countries in which they reside;

34.  Stresses that the fight against child poverty must focus on prevention and early intervention rather than reaction, and should be based on the guiding principle of equal access to high-quality early childhood education and childcare services;

35.  Encourages, in this context, moves to establish more facilities for children, such as activity centres open during both termtime and holiday periods, as well as extracurricular cultural and sports activities, with meals provided;

36.  Stresses the need for adequate financial resources for these services, and in particular for policies to support poor and vulnerable families, such as families with children with disabilities, single-parent families and families with large numbers of children;

37.  Highlights the importance of the parent-child relationship and of the necessary support for parents to help them fulfil their parental responsibilities, thus preventing children being separated from their parents and placed in care as a consequence of severe poverty;

Confronting homelessness

38.  Welcomes the Commission’s Staff Working Document on ‘Confronting Homelessness’;

39.  Recalls Parliament’s request for a concrete and detailed roadmap for the implementation of the EU Homelessness Strategy;

40.  Stresses that investment in social housing, besides its crucial role in alleviating the consequences of poverty, should be considered as a social investment which leads to decent job creation and sustainable growth in the long term;

41.  Calls on the Member States to remove unnecessary administrative burdens affecting applications for social housing, and to eliminate any discrimination against minorities or vulnerable groups, in order to ensure equal access for all;

42.  Recalls that energy costs typically represent a large part of household expenses, and therefore calls on the Member States to strengthen their policies in support of household energy efficiency;

43.  Calls on the Member States to prepare specific programmes for the homeless, based on the assessment of local situations, and to place particular emphasis on housing and longer- term assistance for vulnerable persons and marginalised communities, rather than only on the provision of temporary accommodation;

Youth employment

44.  Stresses that investment in youth employment must be a key component of national social investment strategies;

45.  Urges the Member States to take strong measures to fight youth unemployment, in particular through preventive action against early dropout from school or from training or apprenticeship schemes (e.g. by implanting a dual educational system or other equally efficient types of framework), and to develop comprehensive strategies for young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs);

46.  Stresses that social investment in favour of NEETs would reduce the present loss to the economy caused by the disengagement of young people from the labour market, which is estimated by Eurofound to amount to EUR 153 billion, or 1,2 % of EU GDP;

47.  Regrets the failure of the current social investment policy to lay sufficient stress on the need to focus resources in priority on the long-term unemployed, young unemployed people, and older workers at risk of becoming long-term unemployed;

48.  Notes that social investment in youth may take a wide range of forms, including: developing partnerships between schools, training centres and local or regional businesses; providing targeted quality training and high-quality youth internship programmes; vocational schemes in cooperation with enterprises; senior employee sponsorship schemes aimed at the recruitment and training of young persons on the job or at securing a better transition from education to work; encouraging young people’s participation in society; and promoting regional, European and international mobility, by means of further progress towards the mutual recognition of qualifications and skills; also stresses that social investment can go hand in hand with efficient incentives, such as employment subsidies or insurance contributions for young people that will guarantee decent living and working conditions, in order to encourage public and private employers to hire young people, invest in both quality job creation for young people and continuous training and upgrading of their skills during employment, and support entrepreneurship among youth;

49.  Stresses the need to enhance the coordination of national social security systems, especially pension systems, in order to encourage mobility;

50.  Stresses the need for statistical information that is comparable between Member States on youth unemployment and labour market expenditure for young people;

Job creation and labour markets

51.  Warns that austerity measures can compromise the quality of employment, social protection and health and safety standards, and stresses that they should accordingly be accompanied by measures aimed at sustaining adequate standards;

52.  Stresses the importance of lifelong learning in strengthening people’s capacity to participate in society and the labour market, up to the legal retirement age and, if desired, even longer;

53.  Reiterates its call on the Member States to adopt measures favourable to job creation as part of their social investment programmes, such as introducing labour-related tax reforms incentivising employment, promoting and supporting self-employment and business start-ups, improving the framework for doing business and facilitating access to financing for SMEs, transforming informal and undeclared work into regular employment, creating incentives to improve the employment level of the most vulnerable social groups, reforming labour markets in order to make them more dynamic and non-discriminatory, and integrating flexicurity and modernising wage-setting systems in order to align wages with productivity developments;

54.  Stresses the need to exploit the job creation potential of innovative sectors under Horizon 2020, such as the sustainable non-carbon economy, health and social care and the digital, cultural and creative sectors, which should be supported with adequate investment in new skills and social investment instruments, making use of the concept of smart specialisation in order to align research and innovation strengths with market developments;

55.  Points out that respect for the principles of flexicurity enables both adequate social protection for workers and access to training and career development, allowing the acquisition of new skills;

Social entrepreneurship

56.  Welcomes the focus on social entrepreneurship and access to microfinance for, among others, vulnerable groups; stresses that these are crucial elements in the context of social investment, in that they not only allow the creation of new sustainable jobs and the development of the social and solidarity economy, but also enable social enterprises to generate and reinvest profits;

57.  Stresses the need to ensure active and healthy ageing in a lifetime perspective, and to emphasise prevention and rehabilitation in order to reduce the incidence, postpone the onset, and reverse and mitigate the course of frailty, functional limitations and disability;

58.  Regrets that the communication does not highlight the important role of the Grundtvig programme in preventing poverty and social exclusion and promoting social investment; calls on the Commission to raise awareness concerning lifelong learning programme opportunities, vocational education and training, and calls on the Member States to improve their quality and accessibility;

59.  Highlights the important role of EU financial instruments and of the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds in improving access to financial markets for social enterprises;

60.  Calls on the Commission to consider the introduction of a common European framework for data publishing, which would guarantee transparent information on investments in social enterprises in Member States and encourage peer pressure;

61.  Stresses that CSR should focus on both environmental and social standards with a view to securing responsible behaviour of companies;

Gender dimension

62.  Welcomes the fact that the gender dimension is included in the Commission’s Communication on Social Investment strategies;

63.  Stresses that the supply of quality childcare and other care facilities plays a crucial role, since it enables women to enter the labour market and work full-time; calls on the Member States to organise sufficient childcare and other care facilities in order to allow the participation of both parents in the labour market, all the more since the availability of childcare places is at present rather unequal between Member States;

64.  Joins the Commission in its call on the Member States to invest in services – such as affordable, full-time and high-quality childcare, all-day school places, care for the elderly and support for informal carers – that help promote gender equality, foster a better work-life balance for men and women (including paternity leave for men), and create a framework which makes it possible to enter or re-enter the labour market while ensuring equal pay for equal work for both men and women;

65.  Reiterates the importance of gender-sensitive educational systems which offer children the possibilities of discovering their talents, thus avoiding gender segregation in the labour market in the long term;

66.  Calls on the Member States to respect and foster gender equality as part of their national policies and National Reform Programmes (NRPs);

EU funds

67.  Highlights the crucial role played by cohesion policy and the Structural Funds in promoting social investments; underlines in this context the significant contribution of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in preventing poverty among workers hit by the crisis, and of the European Progress Microfinance Facility in supporting entrepreneurship by means of training, retraining and workforce measures aimed at getting people back to work;

68.  Stresses that the Structural Funds should concentrate on priority areas that have a clear impact in terms of growth and jobs and are proposed as focuses for cohesion policy;

69.  Stresses that the European Social Fund should become more clearly oriented towards active measures that actually meet employers’ needs;

70.  Welcomes the Commission’s emphasis on the European Social Fund as the main instrument intended to foster social investment; strongly supports, in this respect, allocating at least 25 % of cohesion policy funding to the ESF and earmarking 20 % of ESF allocations in each Member State for promoting social inclusion and combating poverty;

71.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 contains appropriate budgetary resources to stimulate and support social investments in the EU;

72.  Calls, as a matter of urgency, for the frontloading of the EUR 6 billion allocated for the new Youth Employment Initiative in the first years of the Multiannual Financial Framework in order to address youth unemployment and implement youth guarantees; stresses that the costs of implementing youth guarantees across the eurozone are estimated at EUR 21 billion by the ILO; calls, therefore, for the allocation to be revised upwards in the context of a revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework; welcomes the extension of the eligibility group for the youth guarantee to those aged under 30;

73.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to explore the use of new financial instruments to increase the leverage of public social investments; calls on the Commission to come forward with more detailed proposals on the matter;

Social dimension of EMU

74.  Considers that budgetary discipline in the eurozone should not be measured only by fiscal and macroeconomic benchmarks, but that this should be complemented, on an equal footing, by employment and social benchmarks as well as progress reports on structural reforms, the aim being to ensure an appropriate and efficient level of social investment and, therefore, the sustainability of a social European Union in a long-term perspective;

75.  Urges the Commission, when considering how the social dimension of a genuine economic and monetary union can be strengthened, to address Member States’ public investment needs, particularly those relating to the social and education targets under the Europe 2020 strategy;

76.  Reiterates that a Social Package for Europe should promote the following:

   ensuring that the establishment of European economic governance is complemented by improved social governance, on a basis of full respect for the autonomy of the social partners and the importance of tripartite social dialogue;
   definition of instruments for the swift introduction of a European Youth Guarantee; a quality framework for internships and apprenticeships; decent and accessible public services; decent living wages with national minimum incomes preventing in-work poverty; social protection and portability of pension rights; access to affordable and adequate social housing; a social protection floor to guarantee equal access to essential health services regardless of income; the implementation of a social protocol to protect fundamental social and labour rights; equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value; and a renewed health and safety strategy;
   a new legislative initiative on the right of national parliaments to require a legislative initiative from the Commission as a ‘green card’, on the basis of Article 352 TFEU;
   new rights for national parliaments to require a legislative initiative from the Commission as a ’green card’ through a treaty change;
   ensuring appropriate resources for social investment, including the allocation of 25 % of cohesion policy funding to the ESF.

77.  Calls on the Member States, where unjustified blocking minorities are preventing necessary progress, to expand the principle of enhanced cooperation to social and employment policies;

o   o

78.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and the Council.

(1) OJ L 59, 2.3.2013, p. 5.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0053.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0260.
(4) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 87.
(5) OJ C 248, 25.8.2011, p. 130.
(6) OJ C 153 E, 31.5.2013, p. 57.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0224.
(8) OJ C 308 E, 20.10.2011, p. 6.
(9) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 23.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0092
(11) OJ C 33 E, 5.2.2013, p. 65.
(12) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 11.
(13) OJ C 161 E, 31.5.2011, p. 112.
(14) Report A7-0250/2012 of Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
(15) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0429.
(16) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0050.
(17) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0419.

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