EUROsociAL is a EU programme aiming at consolidating cooperation between Latin America and the EU on policy dialogue related to social cohesion. EUROsociAL contributes to the design, reform and implementation of public policies in Latin America which have an impact on social cohesion through peer-to-peer learning and experience exchanges between counterpart institutions in the two regions.
Latin American sustained growth rates over the last decades have not managed to solve the structural challenges in the region. Latin America still has high poverty rate (28% of population living in poverty and 11% in extreme poverty), and the world’s highest levels of inequality, surpassing even poorer regions, such as Sub-Saharan Africa.
Inequality is not only a consequence of poverty and income disparity. It is also determined by unequal access to basic social public services, by discrimination affecting vulnerable groups (women, indigenous people, migrants, etc.), by insufficient conditions for the exercise of human rights or by labour informality.
Social cohesion was affirmed as one of the priorities of the EU-LAC strategic relationship at successive summits of Heads of State and Government (Guadalajara in May 2004, in the Final Declaration of the Vienna Summit in 2006, in the Final Declaration of the Lima Summit in 2008 and in the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit: Madrid Declaration in 2010). EUROsociAL was created in the framework of the Guadalajara summit, as a result of the joint commitment of EU and LAC states in the field of social cohesion. The first phase of the programme was launched in 2005.
At following summits, namely in Madrid (2010) and Brussels (2015),the European Union and Latin American Member states have confirmed their commitment to social cohesion. This commitment has been materialised in the approval of the second and third phase of EUROsociAL programme. Through the three phases of EUROsociAL, the Commission has allocated more than EUR 100 M for the reduction of inequalities and the improvement of social cohesion in Latin America.
EUROsociAL + (2016-2021)
EUROsociAL+ will continue the work already started with EUROsociAL I and II. The objective continues to be the support to public policies attempting to increase the level of social cohesion and the strengthening of the institutions responsible of their implementation in their capacity to provide high quality public services. The programme will continue tackling the roots of inequality that prevent social cohesion through the influence on policies and institutional strengthening. EUROsociAL works as a facilitator, making available to the institutions involved in these processes the knowledge of analogous experiences in other Latin American countries, as well as European ones, that can offer innovative elements in these reforms.
The priority areas of action for EUROsociAL + are social policies, good governance policies and gender equality policies.
The advancement of the middle income class in Latin America and the reduction of poverty and inequality levels in the region are not just the results of the positive economic growth rates over the past 10 years. It is also the outcome of deliberate public policies.
The EU should continue supporting social policies through the improvement of the quality of employment and of social protection systems, and the reduction of the constraints that prevent vulnerable groups (indigenous people, migrants, etc.) from benefiting of social policies.
Good governance policies:
Overcoming inequalities requires good governance, which can help foster development of more inclusive, more responsive governmental systems that address the real needs of the marginalized people.
This programme will promote:
- Measures addressing the efficiency, equitability, progressiveness and transparency of fiscal systems.
- Equal access to justice to all, eliminating barriers and discriminating measures.
- Long term strategic planning and definition of public policies, specifically those directly linked to the promotion of social equality.
Gender equality policies:
Gender equality is a fundamental aspect of social cohesion, as it spans across many areas of everyday life. Women's empowerment is also key for the inclusive and sustainable development of the region.
This programme will support the regional and national efforts to promote, manage and monitor public policies to advance gender equality and women empowerment and foster gender mainstreaming.
EUROsociAL II (2011-2015)
The second phase of EUROsociAL gave continuity to this ambitious policy mandate of promoting social cohesion through the support to public policies and also the strengthening of the institutions carrying out those policies.
With a total cost of €40 M, EUROsociAL II has promoted cooperation between the public administrations of the Member States of the European Union and of those of the Latin American states.
The programme focused on the following themes:
- Universal access to social services of quality (e.g. education, health), and promotion of children, teenagers and youth rights.
- Social protection and promotion of active employment policies.
- Fiscal systems and public finances which facilitate redistribution and efficiency of expenditure.
- Democratic institutionalism and social dialogue, and decentralisation.
- Citizen´s security, rights and access to justice.
EUROsociAL has achieved 274 documented results. The programme has conducted more than 1500 activities (studies, seminars, exchange visits, advising, etc.) in 19 Latin American countries. These activities gathered more than 10,500 beneficiaries. 90 policies were supported, attempting to increase the level of social cohesion and to strengthen the institutions responsible of their implementation in their capacity to provide high quality public services. 130 experiences from Latin America, 120 from Europe, and 15 from the rest of the world were shared. Almost 1500 institutions from Latin America, the EU and the rest of the world have participated in the programme. And 2150 experts have been part of the programme.
EUROsociAL supported 14 actions:
- Social policies: improving equity in the health systems
- Education: improving the education offer
- Social protection: strengthening and extension of integral systems of social protection
- Employment: active policies of employment, national systems of professional qualifications
- Public finances: inclusive and sustainable fiscal systems
- Democratic governance: democratic institutions; transparency and fight against corruption
- Social dialogue: strengthening of economic and social councils
- Decentralisation: regional development and territorial cohesion
- Security and justice: access to justice for the vulnerable social groups; alternative mechanisms of conflict solutions; attention to victims of violence; socio-labour insertion of people deprived from liberty
- Citizen security: violence prevention.