It was established to support the implementation of the EU's social agenda and Lisbon objectives in the areas of employment, social protection and social inclusion
, working conditions, anti-discrimination, and equality between men and women, and to help the Member States deliver on their commitments to create more and better jobs, to achieve equal opportunities for all and to have a uniform application of EU laws.
The debate will also give ministers an opportunity to prepare the tripartite social summit, which will be attended for the first time by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, and to adopt two reports, one on employment and another on social protection and social inclusion
. The first gives an overview of the problems being encountered by national employment policies in today's crisis and the second recommends reinforcement of social protection and new measures to protect pension schemes.
a "strengthened" open method of coordination on social protection and social inclusion
; and 3.
Employment among older persons, the viability of pension schemes, the poverty that threatens 16% of citizens and health care are the main concerns outlined in the European Commission's 2008 Joint report on social protection and social inclusion
For example, the Commission staff working paper, "Further steps in implementing the revised Lisbon strategy", does not make any reference to the OMC on social protection and social inclusion
However, these clear political commitments become meaningless when there is no reference made within the European Commission's road map for "further steps in implementing the revised Lisbon Strategy" to the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on social protection and social inclusion.
EAPN Director Fintan Farrell requests that "the conclusions of the forthcoming [European] Council addresses this contradiction and insists that the implementation reports on the revised Lisbon Strategy includes a specific section on feeding in and feeding out' in relation to the OMC on social protection and social inclusion".
They also call on the European Council to adopt "an integrated framework on social protection and social inclusion
as well as a single list of common objectives on social integration, pensioners, healthcare and long-term care, with a view to systematically applying and simplifying the open method of coordination" at its spring 2006 session.
As announced in our 9 March edition, EU's Employment and Social Affairs Ministers spent the majority of their Council session on 10 March adopting a series of reports to be submitted to the Spring European Council: the 2006 joint employment report,athe 2006 joint report on social protection and social inclusion
(see Europolitics 3030), the annual report on gender equality (see Europolitics 3033), the joint Social Protection Committee and Economic Policy Committee opinion on the open method of coordination in social protection and social inclusion
policies (see Europolitics 3041).
TheSocial Protection Committee (SPC)will focus the majority of its efforts over 2006 on analysing and discussing the first reports on national social protection and social inclusion
In the area of social protection and social inclusion
, the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is currently being applied at European level in three areas: social inclusion (since 2000); pensions (since 2001); the future of the health system and long-term care (since 2004).