GREEK PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
INFORMAL MEETING OF MINISTERS OF EMPLOYMENT & SOCIAL AFFAIRS
NAFPLIO, 23-24-25 JANUARY 2003
2. SOCIAL PROTECTION – THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL MODEL
A. The role of social protection in the Lisbon Strategy.
The history of Europe, from the EEC of 6 to the EU of 25 Member States, leaves no doubt about its potential and prospects. The progress towards our Europe, as we envisage it, requires the active participation of all European citizens. This can become possible only if Europe offers the model of a course to a common future. A future that is better than the present because all better shares prosperity and participation.
There are four crucial points for this endeavour:
First, the prospect of a path towards greater convergence, the feeling that the future will bring us closer together
Second, the guarantee that our common destination is not determined in the absence of the citizen nor set by blind automatic processes, but emanates from choices based on common values.
Third, the clarity of the message, which must convince and mobilize.
Fourth, the sense of realism based on proven value added and feasibility of the ongoing processes, in terms of tangible benefits for the everyday life of citizens.
The Lisbon conclusions highlight the importance of social protection for the European strategy, as a factor contributing to economic growth in Europe and to the prosperity of its citizens. The European Social Model has thus acquired a central role in the overall Strategy.
The European Social Model reflects the following common principles:
- Europe’s success must not exclude anyone,
- Solidarity is linked to economic success.
- There is neither dilemma nor a contradiction between economic and social progress.
- The welfare state is not a luxury, a product of economic development, but a factor of production.
The modernization of the European Social Model can thus add to economic progress.
PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS. LISBON
EUROPEAN COUNCIL. 23 AND 24 MARCH 2000
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
The Social Dimension of the European Union.
Forum on the Future of Europe: Dublin Castle, 12 November 2002
Presentation by Fintan Farrell:
European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN)
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