The European Commission supports and complements the Member States' policies in the fields of social inclusion and social protection.
The Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth sets targets to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion and to increase employment of the population aged 20-64 to 75%. The flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, including the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion and the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs, support efforts to reach these targets.
Through its Social Investment Package, the Commission provides guidance to Member States to modernise their welfare systems towards social investment throughout life.
The package complements:
- the Employment Package, which sets out the way forward for a job rich recovery,
- the White Paper on Pensions, presenting a strategy for adequate, sustainable and safe pensions,
- the Youth Employment Package, which deals specifically with the situation of young people.
The European Semester provides the framework for steering and monitoring EU countries' economic and social reforms to reach the Europe 2020 targets. The challenges and proposed solutions are reflected in the Country-specific Recommendations.
As social policies are an integral part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Commission also supports EU countries' efforts to address their social challenges through the actions foreseen in the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion and Social Investment Package as well as the EU funds, in particular the European Social Fund.
The Commission works together with EU countries through the Social Protection Committee using the Open Method of Co-ordination in the areas of social inclusion, health care and long-term care and pensions (social OMC).
The social OMC is a voluntary process for political cooperation based on agreeing common objectives and measuring progress towards these goals using common indicators. The process also involves close co-operation with stakeholders, including Social Partners and civil society.