On 20-21 November, The Semester Alliance, with the Bulgarian national pilot Alliance, took part in the 4th Annual Convention of the European platform against poverty and social exclusion (#Poverty2020) particularly in the workshop on Governance, putting forward 3 key messages. Douhomir Minev, spoke on behalf of the Semester Alliance Bulgarian national pilot along with Barbara Helfferich, Director of EAPN andChair of the Semester Alliance.
See here below the 3 key messages from the Semester Alliance:
1. Europe 2020 not delivering on its potential for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth or its key targets,missing a clear political commitment delivering on a balanced strategy, and missing commitments to equality and gender equality.
Recommendation: Political reconfirmation of a European Semester based on objectives/targets of Europe 2020 – smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, ensuring commitment to gender equality.
2. The Semester is a closed governance process, with insufficient transparency in the decision-making process dominated by stability and convergence priorities. The Semester is dominated by Ministries of Finance, and DGs focussing on macroeconomic and fiscal surveillance, developed between the Commission and Member States, with little role for Parliament and this is leading to a dramatic lack of transparency ie theNRPs have an increasingly unclear role in the cycle, with the CSRs dominant, based on unclear criteria or mechanisms to input or influence.
Recommendation: Ensure greater coherence and transparency in the decision-making process and ensure that the development and delivery of country-specific recommendations is clearly based on a balanced Europe 2020 agenda and strategies to deliver on the targets, delivered through the National Reform Programmes.
3. The Semester is extremely closed to real consultation and participation of stakeholders, particularly at the national level, involving civil society, social partners and national parliaments. Feedback from national level, including pilot alliances highlight the low quality with focus on information rather than dialogue and partnership, little impact on policy and failure to transfer of key good practices – eg Belgian Platform Against Poverty, attachment of stakeholder inputs to NRP (France).
Recommendation: Need for obligatory EU Guidelines to ensure debate in national parliaments and meaningful structured dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. These should ensure that NRPs are developed on the basis of regular dialogue involving multi-level governance, social partners and civil society organisations including people experiencing poverty through all stages. Financial and logistical support should be provided to support this engagement, facilitated by the European Semester Officers. Detailed monitoring of engagement and results, including annexing the views of stakeholders is crucial.