Brussels, 03/12/2014 – Today, the EU Alliance for a democratic, social and sustainable European Semester, a broad coalition bringing together environmental, social and equality NGOs and trade unions, is holding a hearing in the European Parliament hosted by Jean Lambert MEP (Greens/EFA) and Marian Harkin (ALDE). The hearing aims to highlight the missing voice of civil society in the debate on the revision of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and the urgent need to include them as key partners in the EU governance process known as the European Semester, at national and EU level. It will also debate with Parliament and stakeholders, initial reactions to the new AGS 2015 package adopted by the European Commission on Friday the 28th November.
“The EU Semester Alliance believes that the Europe 2020 Strategy could form the basis of a rebalanced agenda for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, but significant changes are needed. Key to progress is governance. The Semester needs to connect to people and organizations on the ground, who are working directly with the result of EU policies, and involve them effectively in the decision-making process. Though the new AGS 2015 gives some recognition of this, concrete steps forward are needed”, said Barbara Helfferich, Chair of the EU Semester Alliance.
“Participation is about ownership and legitimacy, but also about getting better solutions. Europe 2020 has to be put back at the heart of this Semester process, and clear commitment given to deliver on the failed poverty, social and environmental targets and to make progress on equality goals. The new AGS 2015, focusing on market-led investment, more structural reforms and continued austerity cuts to public spending, doesn’t appear to give much hope to the people living in Europe of delivering tangible results. We had expected that the new Commission would give new priority to Europe 2020 targets on poverty, employment, and climate/ resource efficiency. The focus must shift away from short-term quick fix to how to deliver long-term prosperity, sustainable development, social justice and gender equality based on fundamental rights. Greater ownership and accountability would help the whole process to live up to its full potential’, she added.
The event will present the Semester Alliance assessments and key messages for revision of the strategy, including the findings of 3 pilot cross-sectoral national alliances in Bulgaria, Denmark and Ireland and will debate with cross party representation of MEPs from the European Parliament and other EU institutions on the new AGS 2015 and the way forward for Europe.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR:
See Key Messages and Report
The EU Alliance for a democratic, social and sustainable European Semester (EU Semester Alliance) is a broad coalition bringing together 15 major European civil-society organisations and trade unions, representing thousands of member organisations on the ground at European, national and local levels in the European Union.
The ‘Semester Alliance’ aims to support progress towards a more democratic, social and sustainable Europe 2020 Strategy, through strengthening civil dialogue engagement in the European Semester at national and EU levels. Its activities include capacity-building and awareness raising as well as joint advocacy actions and support to 3 national pilot cross-sectoral alliances in Bulgaria, Denmark and Ireland.It is currently funded by the European Commission under the framework of a Joint Action, supported by the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (VP/2013/006)
The EU Semester Alliance members
The EU Alliance members include:
- Age Platform Europe
- Caritas Europa
- Housing Europe
- European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN)
- European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)
- European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
- European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA)
- European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)
- European Public Service Union (EPSU)
- European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
- European Women’s Lobby (EWL)
- Green Budget Europe
- Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)
The Alliance’s other key publications
The EU Semester Alliance – A voice to be heard and followed
Enabling civil-society to participate in the shaping of EU policies and to contribute to progress on the Targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy concerns us all!
For press inquiries, Contact Nellie Epinat (email@example.com) +32 (0)498 44 13 66 or Sian Jones, Coordinator of the Semester Alliance (firstname.lastname@example.org) +32 (2) 226 58 50