With its objective of inclusive as well as smart and sustainable growth, and with its (first ever) EU poverty and social exclusion target, the Europe 2020 Strategy (potentially) increases the importance of the EU's social objectives and integrates them with the EU’s economic, employment and environmental objectives.
The National Reform Programmes (NRPs) are the means by which Member States are expected to translate the Europe 2020 objectives and targets into national policies. In April 2013, countries submitted their third Europe 2020 NRPs to the European Commission. At the same time, they were also asked to submit Strategic Social Reports (SSRs) updating their 2012 National Social Reports (NSRs). The NSRs/SSRs are a new development introduced in 2012. NSRs/SSRs are intended to underpin the social dimension of the Europe 2020 process by covering the fields of social inclusion, pensions, healthcare and long-term care in more depth than is possible in the NRPs.
Members of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion assessed, from a social inclusion perspective, their countries’ NRPs and -when available- SSRs. In particular, they assessed the extent to which the measures outlined in the NRPs (and SSRs) are likely to ensure progress towards the achievement of the Europe 2020’s social inclusion objectives and target.
This short report, prepared by the Network Core Team, summarises the main findings of the independent experts’ country analyses. It also puts forward concrete suggestions for strengthening the social inclusion dimension of the NRP process in future.