Last 06/06/2014, the Semester Alliance held a 1-day Capacity Building workshop for 35 Alliance members in Brussels which several participants considered a “very useful, dynamic and powerful day”. The workshop was primarily aimed at national members of the Alliance, including the 3 pilot alliances in Denmark, Bulgaria and Ireland, but also representatives from the Brussels level. The capacity-building workshop had 3 aims:
- To strengthen their knowledge of Europe 2020 and of the European Semester and increase the effectiveness of the engagement,
- Increase their capacity to build effective alliances cross-sectorally, particularly at the national level,
- Increase the involvement and ownership of the Semester Alliance.
The workshop was highly interactive involving presentations and discussion of the Alliance’s toolkit for civil-society organisations and trade unions to engage in the European Semester process, with inputs from the European Commission as well as practical workshops exchanging learning on national engagement and cross-sectoral working. Key learning points from the day included:
- Civil dialogue and engagement vary a lot from country to country
- There is little or no public debate about Europe 2020, hence a great need to raise awareness, highlighting positives and negatives
- Civil-society organisations and trade unions need to build on existing involvement, engage continually and ensure timely and targeted inputs
- Working cross-sectorally is a great added value to get more impact, even if it takes time and requires the adequate methods
- Political commitment from EU/national governments is essential, backed by guidelines for stakeholder engagement, stricter monitoring and financial support for civil society engagement.
The European Semester: What is it? how does it work? How to engage in it?
⇒ WATCH! Amana Ferro, senior policy officer for EAPN, gave a presentation of what the European Semester is and how it works. The presentation was appreciated to such an extent that we have decided to reproduce it as a video presentation, which will be published soon. ⇒ See here the Semester Alliance TOOLKIT – with annexes for organisations and trade unions to engage in the European Semester.