On Friday 20 November, 100 people from all over Europe came together in Dublin as part of the final phase of the European Citizens‘ Consultations.
Report on ECC Regional Debate on Social Policies
20th of November 2009 in Dublin, Ireland
European Citizens‘ Consultations
Click here to download the conference briefing document.
This initiative saw over 1600 randomly selected citizens from all 27 EU member states sit down together, and draw up 15 practical recommendations about the economic and social future of Europe. The citizens then presented these to the leaders of the European Union during a two day summit in Brussels in May.
For this, the second phase of the consultations, five regional debates took place across the EU, bringing MEPs, citizens and stakeholders together to turn these recommendations in to legislation. The two recommendations that were discussed focused on social welfare and social inclusion; issues which have become more relevant than ever over the last year, and this conference provided a platform for citizens, stakeholders and EU and government representatives to work together to provide practical solutions to these problems in a highly interactive setting.
To maximise the direct dialogue between citizens and their European representatives, it was decided to take a unique approach to this format of this conference, focusing on consensus-building small working group sessions rather than a panel and audience scenario. By the end of the day two concrete legislative proposals based on the following two recommendations were formulated:
The European Commission must propose legislation that would combat social inequalities, and create conditions for a convergence of social insurance and welfare systems in all member states. This would cover salaries and pensions, and would establish “floors” and “ceilings” for social benefits. The EU should create a mechanism to monitor member states’ social policies and, if needed, should issue binding recommendations for member states to ensure that the EU moves closer to a common EU social system.
The EU should increase social protection for vulnerable members of society in all phases of life, such as elderly people, the disabled or poorer members of society, homeless and unemployed, as well as carers. It should rate countries’ spending of GDP and impose enforceable targets for member states in the fight against poverty. These measures should be given particular attention in times of economic recession
• Check out a video on Ireland’s role in these consultations to date.
• Click here for a downloadable list of the 15 recommendations.
• Click here to download our post-conference pack
• Click here to download Hugh Frazer’s presentation
• Click here to view photographs from the day