EU's economic success reliant on bloc's social policy, commissioner insists

European Commisioner for Social Affairs and Inclusion Marianne Thyssen says that policy developed for the people is best developed close to the people.

paul_cocks
Paul Cocks
24 March 2017, 10:21am
Thyssen: '“Now more than ever, social issues are intrinsically linked to every discussion on the future of Europe.”
Thyssen: '“Now more than ever, social issues are intrinsically linked to every discussion on the future of Europe.”
Although the European Union is one of the most prosperous regions in the world, its economic performance can only be sustained on the back of a successful and encompassing social policy, reflecting the realities of the 21st century, according to the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

In a recorded video message addressed to participants at a meeting of the chairpersons of parliamentary committees on social affairs – organised in Malta by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union – Marianne Thyssen said that policy developed for the people was best developed close to the people.

“Now more than ever, social issues are intrinsically linked to every discussion on the future of Europe,” she said. “Any discussion on social issues should also include equal opportunities and access to the labour market.”

Thyssen said that, 60 years on from the signing of the Rome Treaty, the EU remain committed to the founding principle that European integration should bring about social progress and real benefits for all.

Anglu Farrugia, speaker of Malta’s House of Representatives, encouraged all representatives to consider the impact of each decision taken in their respective parliaments on the lives and futures of the citizens in their countries.

The increasing participation of parliaments within the work of the presidencies of the Council was further evidence that the European Union, and its institutions, need to grow closer to the people within the EU, to understand and act upon the needs of the common people, he said.

“The European Commission has set itself 2020 as the deadline by when 20 million EU citizens are to be brought out of poverty or back into society out of social exclusion,” Farrugia said. “Unfortunately stereotypes and labelling have only helped propagate exclusion even further.”

Anthony Agius Decelis, chairman of the Maltese Parliament’s Social Affairs Committee, said that official data showed that, in 2014, one in four EU citizens were poor or facing social exclusion.

“People in risk of poverty often have a hard time to find gainful employment,” he said. “And when they do, we must ensure that their rights and dignity are respected.”

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Paul Cocks joined MaltaToday after having spent years working in newspapers with The Times...