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Working towards a Socially Inclusive and Poverty-proof Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are presenting our assessment of the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS) 2021 and of the EC proposal for a Joint Employment Report (JER) 2021. Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021 The four dimensions of the ASGS 2020 – environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness and macroeconomic stability – remain the guiding principles for the ASGS 2021. The economic and social impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are also taken up as priority areas for investment. However, EAPN’s main concern is whether social rights and the fight against poverty are given an equal role in the ‘triangle’ of economic, environmental and social objectives. Joint Employment Report 2021 The Joint Employment Report 2021 highlights that “implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights is key to ensuring a fair and inclusive recovery”. Unfortunately, the data and policies used in this report often don’t include a thorough analysis of the root causes of problems. The COVID-19 pandemic also had a clear effect on the European Semester 2021. These effects are important to understand our analysis and assessment of the ASGS and JER.

These are our 8 key messages:

  1. Mainstream all principles of the EPSR throughout the ASGS and the European Semester to fully support the implementation of the Action Plan for all areas and social rights.

  2. We need an integrated EU Anti-Poverty Strategy with an ambitious poverty reduction target.

  3. Rebalance the European Semester to ensure delivery on social rights, inclusive growth and a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which leaves nobody behind.

  4. Clarify that the Recovery and Resilience Fund, EU Structural Funds and the Technical Support Instrument must be used for social reforms to guarantee social rights.

  5. Prioritise adequate funding of and social investment in strong welfare states and guarantee access to key public services as a social right.

  6. Increase focus on person-centred, rights-based and integrated support to quality jobs, for all ages and excluded groups, rejecting negative conditionality.

  7. Promote an integrated approach to education, training and lifelong learning as a social right.

  8. Invest in Civil Society Organisations and dialogue with people with direct experience of poverty as equal partners.


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