An ambitious agenda designed to ensure that European Union policies respond effectively to today's economic and social challenges was adopted by the European Commission on 2 July 2008.
Technological change, globalisation and an ageing population are transforming Europe's societies. EU policies need to keep pace with these trends, and help people adapt to changing circumstances. The renewed social agenda aims to create more opportunities for EU citizens, improve access to quality services and demonstrate solidarity with those who are affected negatively by change.
The EU has limited powers and responsibilities, but it can make a real difference to people's lives by working in partnership with Member States and stakeholders. Over the last 50 years, the EU has successfully promoted growth and jobs, gender equality and better working conditions. It has helped to tackle discrimination, poverty and inequalities between regions.
Building on these achievements, the renewed social agenda brings together a range of EU policies in order to support action in seven priority areas:
The Commission is proposing to use a mix of different policy tools to achieve the objectives set out in the renewed social agenda:
The procedure and timing for each of the initiatives put forward in the renewed social agenda are explained in the accompanying documents.