The representatives of regions would like to see social indicators linked to employment stabilisers in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Meeting in plenary, on 31 January, the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR) voted nearly unanimously in favour of the inclusion of social indicators in the 'European semester'. Its objective is less the use of sanctions if alert thresholds are exceeded than to prompt convergence of employment policies and the deployment of automatic stabilisers for employment. The European Council of 20 December 2013 confirmed the need to include social indicators in the 'European semester' 2014.
Jean-Louis Destans (PES, France), noting that the evolution towards a social Europe will take time, welcomes the reaction to his draft opinion. "We have taken a step in the direction of social Europe," he commented after the vote.
The opinion is follow-up to the Commission's communication, 'Strengthening the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union' (see box).
It proposes three ways of developing a more ambitious social employment policy.
Poverty and decent employment indicators should be more firmly built into the 'European semester' scoreboards compared with unemployment disposable income indicators.
There should be a debate on the definition of alert thresholds that trigger closer policy coordination.
Alert thresholds could lead to employment market stabilisers. As a prelude to European unemployment insurance, this long-term development will require...