ETUC contributes to the debate on the future of economic and social cohesion policy
Economic and social cohesion policy is a challenge for the future of Social Europe and for enlargement, and for that reason it must be a priority for European leaders, says the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), commenting on the European Commission’s Communication on Cohesion Policy in Support of Growth and Jobs - Community Strategic Guidelines 2007-2013.
ETUC’s first contribution to the debate on the future of economic and social cohesion policy in the enlarged European Union pressed for Community structural policies in an enlarged Europe to be reinforced, since the principles of cohesion and solidarity are enshrined in the Treaty and are two of the most important vehicles for the integration of peoples and territories.
In ETUC’s view, enlargement represents first and foremost a unique historical opportunity to unite the peoples of Europe on the basis of fundamental democratic values. Furthermore, the EU is concerned about some other major challenges identified by recent European Council summits, which also require joint and coordinated responses and actions. ETUC wants to reiterate that future cohesion policy must help to provide responses to these challenges and, in so doing, help to reduce disparities between regions and promote a society of full employment, equal opportunities, social inclusion and cohesion and hence, more broadly, the European Social Model. ETUC is convinced that partnership is a fundamental principle in garanteeing the success of Structural Fund measures.
To achieve this, the current reform must guarantee even greater complementarity between the Union’s structural policies and other areas of Community policy, whilst also ensuring that all EU policies include the crucial aspects of economic and social cohesion and boosting quality employment. ETUC therefore considers it very important for the Commission Communication to also make explicit reference to the Conclusions of the Presidency of the European Council of March 2005, stressing the need to relaunch the Lisbon Strategy. ETUC wants to stress that the Structural Funds should be made real key instruments for ensuring implementation of the Social Policy Agenda 2006-2010.
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