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Renewed Social Agenda

08/07/2008 Renewed Social Agenda

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.

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.

What is the issue?

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.

How will the renewed social agenda help?

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: 

  • Children and youth – tomorrow's Europe
  • Investing in people: more and better jobs, new skills
  • Mobility
  • Longer and healthier lives
  • Combating poverty and social exclusion
  • Fighting discrimination and promoting gender equality
  • Opportunities, access and solidarity on the global scene  

How will it work?

The Commission is proposing to use a mix of different policy tools to achieve the objectives set out in the renewed social agenda: 

  • EU legislation (eg proposals on tackling discrimination outside the labour market, patients' rights in cross-border health care, improving the functioning of European Works Councils)
  • Social dialogue (encouraging representatives of workers and employers to make full use of the possibilities offered by the European Social Dialogue)
  • Cooperation between member States (in particular, reinforced cooperation in the area of social protection and social inclusion)
  • EU funding (mobilising the EU's Structural Funds, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the PROGRESS Programme on employment and social solidarity)
  • Partnership, dialogue and communication (involvement and consultation of non-governmental organisations, regional and local authorities and other stakeholders)
  • Ensuring that all EU policies promote opportunities, access and solidarity (screening new initiatives for social and employment impacts)   

When would it come into effect?

The procedure and timing for each of the initiatives put forward in the renewed social agenda are explained in the accompanying documents.