A report commissioned by the European Commission to the European Social Policy Network of independent experts published today shows that Member States have made progress in implementing reforms toward social investment but there still a lot to be done for the modernisation of the social protection systems across the European Union.
The experts’ report shows that many Member States have well-established social investment approaches to their social welfare systems, which they have been maintaining and strengthening over the years.
Other Member States are also undertaking policy reforms towards the direction of social investment, notably in terms of
- stepping up activating and enabling support for labour market reintegration,
- support for early childhood development and
- supporting parents' labour market participation.
However the crisis and fiscal constraints have, at times, complicated some Member States' reform efforts.
It is also highlights that different social policies can often reinforce each other. For instance, combining unemployment benefits, job-search assistance and quality services such as childcare is very effective in reducing people’s risk of poverty and improving their job prospects.
The report concludes that Member States have moved ahead in their reform efforts, but more and quicker progress is possible and needed.
In 2013, the Commission adopted the Social Investment Package, which urged Member States to modernise their social protection systems towards a social investment approach, with a view to emerging from the crisis stronger, more cohesive and more competitive.
The Commission is supporting Member States' reforms through country specific recommendations in the context of the European Semester and the guidance provided in the Annual Growth Survey. It also financially supports reform efforts through the European Social Fund.
Adopting a social investment approach can significantly contribute towards achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, especially the employment and poverty targets, and strengthen our economic foundations.