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Procedure : 2013/2841(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0496/2013

Texts tabled :

B7-0496/2013

Debates :

PV 20/11/2013 - 17
CRE 20/11/2013 - 17

Votes :

PV 21/11/2013 - 8.16
CRE 21/11/2013 - 8.16

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0515

Texts adopted
PDF 219kWORD 48k
Thursday, 21 November 2013 - Strasbourg Final edition
Strengthening the social dimension of the EMU
P7_TA(2013)0515B7-0496/2013

European Parliament resolution of 21 November 2013 on the Commission communication entitled ‘Strengthening the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)’ (2013/2841(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 October 2013 entitled ‘Strengthening the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)’ (COM(2013)0690),

–  having regard to the report by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, to the European Council of 26 June 2012 entitled ‘Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union’(1) ,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 November 2012 entitled ‘A blueprint for a deep and genuine economic and monetary union: Launching a European Debate’ (COM(2012)0777),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 14 December 2012 on the roadmap for the completion of Economic and Monetary Union(2) ,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 March 2013 entitled ‘Towards a Deep and Genuine Economic and Monetary Union: The introduction of a Convergence and Competitiveness Instrument’ (COM(2013)0165),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 March 2013 entitled ‘Towards a Deep and Genuine Economic and Monetary Union: Ex ante coordination of plans for major economic policy reforms’ (COM(2013)0166),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 14 March 2013(3) , 28 June 2013(4) and 25 October 2013(5) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2012 entitled ‘Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union’(6) ,

–  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) and to its resolution of 12 June 2013 thereon(7) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2013 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2013 priorities(8) ,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 October 2009 entitled ‘Solidarity in health: Reducing health inequalities in the EU’(COM(2009)0567),

–  having regard to the public hearing organised by its Employment and Social Affairs Committee on 9 July 2013 on the ‘Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) – European Unemployment Benefit Scheme’,

–  having regard to the Paper on Automatic Stabilisers of 4 October 2013 by the Commission’s DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion working group,

–  having regard to the Policy Brief of 13 September 2013 by the European Policy Centre (EPC) entitled ‘Developing the social dimension of a deep and genuine Economic and Monetary Union’,

–  having regard to Notre Europe’s ‘Blueprint for a Cyclical Shock Insurance in the euro area’ of September 2013,

–  having regard to the International Monetary Fund staff discussion note of September 2013 entitled ‘Toward a Fiscal Union for the Euro Area’(9) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2013 entitled ‘Impact of the crisis on access to care for vulnerable groups’(10) ,

–  having regard to the Commission’s EU Employment and Social Situation: Quarterly Review of October 2013,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (O-000122/2013 – B7‑0524/2013),

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

A.  whereas unemployment in the EU has reached the alarming level of 26,6 million people(11) ;

B.  whereas youth unemployment rates have reached unprecedented levels, averaging 23 % for the EU as a whole;

C.  whereas long-term unemployment has risen in most Member States and reached an all‑time high in the EU as a whole;

D.  whereas structural unemployment and mismatches between labour supply and demand have been growing;

E.  whereas poverty levels have been increasing in the EU since 2007, while household incomes are declining, with the result that 24,2 % of the EU population is currently at risk of poverty or social exclusion;

F.  whereas in-work poverty has been increasing steadily since the onset of the crisis;

G.  whereas increases in the rate of in-work poverty and the number of jobless households have resulted in rising levels of child poverty;

H.  whereas inequalities both within and between Member States, especially in the euro area, have been rising;

I.  whereas there are persistent divergences between Member States, resulting in the rapid polarisation of unemployment rates, and whereas such divergences are also increasing among regions and social groups in some countries;

J.  whereas social imbalances have grown faster inside the euro area than in the EU as a whole;

K.  whereas the Social Protection Performance Monitor identified key social trends to watch;

L.  whereas unemployment rates on the periphery of the euro area reached an average of 17,3 % in 2012, compared with 7,1 % in the core of the euro area;

M.  whereas the rate of young people on the periphery of the euro area who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) reached an average of 22,4 % in 2012, compared with 11,4 % in the core of the euro area;

N.  whereas poverty levels have increased in two thirds of the Member States, but stabilised in the remaining third;

O.  whereas major steps have been taken to reinforce the EU’s economic governance; whereas, however, the prospect of achieving the Europe 2020 targets is currently under threat;

P.  whereas the discussion of social imbalances should be put on the same footing as the discussion of macroeconomic imbalances;

Q.  whereas its Committee on Employment and Social Affairs held a public hearing on 9 July 2013 on the ‘Social dimension of the EMU – European unemployment benefit scheme’, which discussed and explored the idea of automatic stabilisers at the euro area level and possible modalities for their introduction;

R.  whereas the Troika has confirmed that high-quality participation by the social partners and strong social dialogue, including at national level, are necessary and may contribute to the success of any reforms, in particular reforms of the EMU;

S.  whereas the economic situation in some Member States has compromised the quality of employment, social protection and health and safety standards;

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication entitled ‘Strengthening the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)’ and considers it to be a first step towards building a social dimension of the EMU;

2.  Recognises explicitly that the implementation of the social dimension of the EMU is subject to the subsidiarity principle and can be best achieved through the best practice method and the peer review method at European level;

3.  Believes, however, that more specific proposals are needed to ensure that economic governance respects the social dimension;

4.  Urges that social considerations be placed at the core of European integration and mainstreamed into all EU policies and initiatives;

5.  Considers that the social dimension should be a reconciliation/trade-off factor in terms of ‘benchlearning’;

6.  Notes that the purpose of the social dimension of the EMU is to provide social security and a sufficient living standard for current and future generations; considers it important, therefore, for EU citizens to see that their Union is capable of promoting social progress;

7.  Considers that the development of a social Europe, with the target of a ‘social union’, is a consequence of European integration;

8.  Supports the proposed establishment of a scoreboard of key employment and social indicators complementary to the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) with a view to making the social consequences of economic and other policies more transparent through ex ante and ex post impact assessments or monitoring, and which could be used in the drafting of the Commission’s Joint Employment Report (JER);

9.  Rejects any harmonisation or alignment which results in the minimisation of social standards in the Member States;

10.  Notes the fact that the proposed indicators are a possible way of ensuring comprehensive coverage of the Member States’ employment and social situations;

11.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that all relevant indicators are gender-sensitive;

12.  Calls for the proposed indicator on youth unemployment levels to include young people up to the age of 30 on a voluntary basis, as provided for by the Youth Guarantee;

13.  Calls for the scoreboard to include indicators relating to child poverty levels, access to healthcare, homelessness, and a decent work index in order to allow proper assessment of the social situation in the EU;

14.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to take concrete action to make the social impact of policies and reforms more transparent, through the ex ante and ex post impact assessment and monitoring of policy reforms;

15.  Calls on the Council to define concrete benchmarks for the employment and social indicators in the form of an EU social protection floor, with a view to promoting upward social convergence and social progress;

16.  Invites the Commission and the Member States to allow Parliament and the social partners to be involved in defining the employment and social indicators;

17.  Stresses the need to support the great potential of social entrepreneurship in respect of all aspects of social innovation at the European level, in order to foster national social systems, boost growth and create new jobs in the white and green economies, especially for young people, in all Member States and regions;

18.  Stresses the need to ensure that the monitoring of employment and social developments is able to contribute to better understanding and aims to reduce social divergences between Member States and prevent social dumping;

19.  Calls on the Commission to monitor the compliance of all Member State reports with Europe 2020 targets, notably with regard to poverty reduction and employment, and to look carefully at the interconnections and interdependence between policies;

20.  Regrets the fact that the aforementioned Commission communication of 2 October 2013 does not address the role and modalities of stabilisers;

21.  Welcomes the proposed involvement of the social partners in the European Semester process, inter alia in the framework of the Social Dialogue Committee prior to the adoption of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) each year;

22.  Welcomes the call for optimum use of the EU budget with a view to developing the social dimension of the EMU and further supporting voluntary worker mobility in order to derive maximum benefit from the EU’s employment potential;

23.  Calls for the social partners to play an even more active role in the European Semester; considers regrettable the overly formal nature of the macroeconomic dialogue;

24.  Calls on the Commission better to integrate Parliament’s aforementioned resolution of 23 October 2013, the aforementioned Commission communication of 2 October 2013 and this resolution thereon in the drafting of the 2014 AGS;

25.  Recalls that good governance of the EMU and its impact can be effective only if all stakeholders, including the social partners , are involved; invites the Commission and the Member States to ensure that all stakeholders, including the social partners, are involved in economic governance, and in particular in the European Semester process;

26.  Invites the December 2013 European Council to define the steps forward in terms of strengthening the social aspect of the EMU;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the European Council.

(1) EUCO 00120/2012.
(2) EUCO 00205/2012.
(3) EUCO 00023/2013.
(4) EUCO 00104/2/2013.
(5) EUCO 00169/2013.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0430.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0266.
(8) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0447.
(9) SDN/13/09.
(10) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0328.
(11) EU Employment and Social Situation: Quarterly Review , October 2013.

Last updated: 28 January 2016Legal notice