By the Select Committee appointed to consider European
Union documents and other matters relating to the European Union.
THE EU SOCIAL POLICY AGENDA
|COM(2000) 379 final.
||Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the RegionsSocial Policy Agenda
PART 1: INTRODUCTORY
1. The Lisbon Special European Council of 23-24 March
2000 committed the Union to "a new strategic goal for the
next decade: to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based
economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with
more and better jobs and greater social cohesion".
To achieve this goal the Union would require an "overall
strategy", combining economic, social and employment policies.
In particular the Council called for the modernisation of the
"European social model" as a crucial element of the
overall strategy. To this end the Council undertook to
pursue its reflection on
the future direction of social policy on the basis of a Commission
communication, with a view to reaching agreement on a European
Social Agenda at the Nice European Council in December.
The Commission published its Communication, the
Social Policy Agenda, on 28 June; it forms the basis for the
2. The call for evidence issued in July asked broad
questions of policy: how far the Agenda was likely to further
the Lisbon strategic goal; whether the Agenda represented a major
extension of Community involvement in social affairs, and whether
it might lead to increased regulation and burdens on business.
Other issues included the nature of the "European Social
Model", and its contribution to European prosperity, the
merits and demerits of the proposed method of "open policy
co-ordination", with its reliance on benchmarks, targets
and peer group review, and the cost implications of the measures
described in the Agenda.
3. The inquiry was conducted by Sub-Committee F (Social
Affairs, Education and Home Affairs), whose members are listed
in Appendix 1. The Sub-Committee took oral and written evidence
from the witnesses listed in Appendix 2, and express their thanks
to all those who have contributed to this inquiry.
1 Lisbon Presidency Conclusions, paragraph 5. Back
paragraph 34. Back