European Social Model

For most people it is the ‘European Social Model’ that distinguishes Europe from other parts of the ‘developed countries’.  This model is probably better defined as a set of shared values than as a fixed model.  Even if the model is developed unevenly in different European countries, and the means of delivery change over time, there is a broad agreement across Europe that these values need to be defended and extended. 

 

These values are in danger of being undermined by aspects of economic globalisation unless we work together to defend them.  Defending these values should be at the heart of the work of the Convention and these values must be explicitly named in the Constitutional Treaty that will be the outcome of the work of the Convention.    These values include:

 

Ř A society which places human rights including economic and social rights at the centre of its concerns and ensures that no one is excluded from exercising their rights and participating fully in society

Ř A high level of social protection and universal and equal access to key services such as; health care, education and training, housing, that is  guaranteed or provided by the state

Ř The recognition of the strength of cultural diversity within and between member states.

Ř A commitment to high quality and stable employment with a strong emphasis on the rights of workers

 

(Fintan Farrell: The Social Dimension of the European Union; Presentation on the Forum on the Future of Europe: Dublin Castle, 12 November 2002: 1 f.)

 

(see as well the documentation of a position of the French government)

New Open Method of Coordination

 

 

37. Implementation of the strategic goal will be facilitated by applying a new open method of coordination as the means of spreading best practice and achieving greater convergence towards the main EU goals. This method, which is designed to help Member States to progressively develop their own policies, involves:

- fixing guidelines for the Union combined with specific timetables for achieving the goals which they set in the short, medium and long terms;

- establishing, where appropriate, quantitative and qualitative indicators and benchmarks against the best in the world and tailored to the needs of different Member States and sectors as a means of comparing best practice;

- translating these European guidelines into national and regional policies by setting specific targets and adopting measures, taking into account national and regional differences;

- periodic monitoring, evaluation and peer review organised as mutual learning processes.

38. A fully decentralised approach will be applied in line with the principle of subsidiarity in which the Union, the Member States, the regional and local levels, as well as the social partners and civil society, will be actively involved, using variable forms of partnership. A method of benchmarking best practices on managing change will be devised by the European Commission networking with different providers and users, namely the social partners, companies and NGOs.

39. The European Council makes a special appeal to companies' corporate sense of social responsibility regarding best practices on lifelong learning, work organisation, equal opportunities, social inclusion and sustainable development.

40. A High Level Forum, bringing together the Union institutions and bodies and the social partners, will be held in June to take stock of the Luxembourg, Cardiff and Cologne processes and of the contributions of the various actors to enhancing the content of the European Employment Pact.

Mobilising the necessary means

41. Achieving the new strategic goal will rely primarily on the private sector, as well as on public-private partnerships. It will depend on mobilising the resources available on the markets, as well as on efforts by Member States. The Union's role is to act as a catalyst in this process, by establishing an effective framework for mobilising all available resources for the transition to the knowledge-based economy and by adding its own contribution to this effort under existing Community policies while respecting Agenda 2000. Furthermore, the European Council welcomes the contribution that the EIB stands ready to make in the areas of human capital formation, SMEs and entrepreneurship, R&D, networks in the information technology and telecom sectors, and innovation. With the "Innovation 2000 Initiative", the EIB should go ahead with its plans to make another billion euro available for venture capital operations for SMEs and its dedicated lending programme of 12 to 15 billion euro over the next 3 years for the priority areas.

 

From: PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS. LISBON EUROPEAN COUNCIL. 23 AND 24 MARCH 2000