A distinguishing feature of EU policy objectives is that they place as much emphasis on the achievement of social goals as on economic or political aims. While social policies have a prominent role in all Member States in attaining such goals - of, for example, ensuring equality of opportunity for all sections of the population - it is also the case that policies in other areas can assist in this respect. At the very least, it is important to ensure that such policies do not have adverse effects on the attainment of social goals if only to avoid having to implement social measures to rectify or offset these effects and, accordingly, having to bear the cost of this in a context where budget constraints tend to limit social expenditure.
Host Country : Slovakia
Place and date : Slovakia, 6. - 7.11.2008
Peer countries : Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Germany - Ireland - Norway - Romania
Stakeholders : AGE, EAPN
EU Member States, therefore, encouraged both by the importance of maximising the overall cost effectiveness of policies and by peer pressure arising from the Open Method of Coordination, are paying increasing attention to the prior evaluation of the social effects of policies which they plan to introduce. Accordingly, there is a common interest in Member States in methods of carrying out such evaluations.
Slovakia is currently developing a unified assessment methodology. While it is up to each Ministry to decide on the most suitable method of assessment, it has to involve the identification and quantification of the financial impact on households (on both their income and expenditure) and the impact on social inclusion and on social inequality (between men and women, social groups, regions and so on). The Peer Review will, therefore, provide an opportunity for experience of social impact methods to be exchanged between Member States.
Ms Ulrike Hiebl (ÖSB Consulting GmbH)