(24 April 2015) – A report commissioned by the European Commission to the European Social Policy Network of independent experts published today shows that Member States have made progress in implementing reforms toward the modernisation of the social protection systems but there is still a lot to be done across the EU.
In 2013, the Commission adopted the Social Investment Package, which urged Member States to modernise their social protection systems with a view to emerging from the crisis stronger, more cohesive and more competitive. This means better performing active inclusion strategies and a more efficient and more effective use of social budgets.
The experts’ report shows that many Member States have well-established social investment approaches to their social welfare systems, which they have been maintaining and strengthening over the years. Other Member States are also undertaking policy reforms towards the direction of social investment, notably in terms of stepping up activating and enabling support for labour market reintegration, support for early childhood development and supporting parents’ labour market participation. However the crisis and fiscal constraints have, at times, complicated some Member States’ reform efforts.
The report also highlights that different social policies can often reinforce each other, and therefore it is important for reforms to consider such complementarities. One such example highlighted is how cash benefits like unemployment benefits and minimum income can be more effective in preventing poverty and helping people enter employment when they are joined up with measures that help people to develop their skills and employability and quality services such as childcare.