Σάββατο, 26 Ιανουαρίου 2008

The Future of the European Social Model

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ISCW European Regional Conference

Reflections andRecommendations from the workshops


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Workshop 1 “Globalisation”

1 Globalisation is a political process. A political debate on globalisation is missing. It is now
(WTO, WB) on too technical bases. We need more balanced trade agreements (WTO)
=> We need more balanced trade agreements (WTO)
2 Globalisation means that there are winners and losers
3 Globalisation means more international exchange, but also
more unemployment
more inequality
more poverty
Still globalisation is a positive thing for many people.
4 Globalisation does not guarantee less inequality, that is why we need economic growths,
but also better redistribution
We need also more effective equality policy
5 Globalisation shows that national states are still crucial
Actors in international and national policies and we should take this into account for future
activities
6 Globalisation challenges financing or welfare states, we must move from social
contributions to taxation-based financial system
On European level: support more social services and also those third sector organisations
which are specialised in social services
ICSW could be an initiator of the kind of social reforms
7 We had macro-economic and social policy dialogue when we founded welfare states
We need now reconciliation between new macro-economic policies and new social policies
=> change in financing
=> employment friendly (activation; training; new services)
=> action at European level


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Workshop 2 “Social rights and social justice”

1 priority should be given to a social rights-based approach (however, without raising
unrealistic expectations and taking into account socio-economic differences, different
availability of financial and technical resources between member states
- solidarity issues/issues related to social inclusion and social cohesion should be given
priority/high importance compared to freedom-based civic rights, inclusion should have
the same priority than free movement of workers or citizens as basic policy principle of
social protection
- solidarity and equal opportunities have to be translated into legal binding principles
- recognition of role of NGOs/social economy organisations which pursue social objectives
in a social market economy
2 stronger focus on transparent processes of communication and participation, more
inclusive processes and bottom-up influence related to issues of social rights and social
justice,
3 involve (based on procedural guarantees) civil society organisations in the definition and
monitoring processes related to social rights and social justice at national and European
level, i.e. strengthen role of civil dialogue, not only social dialogue
e.g. accept NGOs as actors in the collective complaint procedure of the European Council’s
European Social Charter, still to be ratified by all EU member states except for Finland
4 stronger/more binding recommendations in the OMC processes on social inclusion and
health & long-term care


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Workshop 3 “Demographic changes”

1 looking at the demographic trends (fertility, longevity), you could be pessimistic about
the future of the ESM. But we should not use these data only to increase fear among
people.
The pure demographic ratios are not likely to improve in the coming years, but social
protection is also depending on economic and social factors: working time, migrations,
public policies
And the adaptation of our social model, through many different ways according to each
country, is on the way, for instance in the field of pension schemes or labour market
regulation
=> Recommendation (to policy makers): do not use figures about fertility or ageing in a
purely negative or desperate way
2 Increasing working time, especially for senior workers, could be part of a solution, under
certain conditions.
2.1 the management of working time along the life is very bad, and can be changed. For
instance, professional training is very low over the age of 45. Some countries, like FIN, are
experiencing new training policies for seniors.
=> Recommendation (to employers, labour unions and policy makers): to create individual
learning accounts, funded through a transfer from social contributions and taxes devoted
to pensions
2.2 It is necessary to encourage senior workers to retire later. But many public policies are
still suffering an early withdrawal from labour market (through disability on long-term
sickness schemes). So, the problem is mainly to keep senior workers at work, rather than
extending the legal retirement ages. To do so, jobs are to be adapted to senior workers,
including those having some disabilities.
=> Recommendation (to employers and labour unions): negotiate human resource
policies inside the firms to adapt job positions and to promote continuous training for
senior workers


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2.3 The working time, the retirement age are more and more personal choices. The
funding of the pensions in the future is a big macro-economic problem. But at an
individual level, some people may prefer increase their working time to have a better
retirement pension, and others are willing to reduce their income to have a better quality
of life, and to have time to spend money in a different way.
=> Recommendation (to policy makers): to build mandatory schemes in a more flexible
way, combining working time, age, and replacement ratio
2.4 To make individual choices, one must rely on transparent and secured information
about the expected level of pension. There is a need for security, not only in terms of
money, but in terms of transparency, sustainability and equity. The state has a key role in
informing citizens.
=> Recommendation (to policy makers): to set up an information system in order to
provide every year to any individual a clear estimation of the pension he may expect
according to different criteria
3. Decreasing fertility in Europe is a problem we have to face. People are not having the
number of children they wish. There is also a problem of “tempo”: there is an increase in
the mean age of the first birth. Benefits and social services must be developed as a
families will not afford any more the burden of childcare. A change in gender roles is
necessary
=> Recommendation (to policy makers): to meet the need for child-care services in order
to promote a better compatibility between family life and professional work


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Workshop 4 “Integration and social cohesion”

Preamble: human dignity, access to rights are the bases of social cohesion, solidarity
1. economic proof for value of social action:
economic growth and social cohesion must be equal parts of EU-strategies
(recommendations to ICSW: develop evidence in economic and financial terms to
prove the value of social cohesion)
2. representation and participation of excluded groups
recommendation to national, local governments and civil society: create procedures for
democratic representation and participation of excluded groups in shaping policies.
3. exclusiveness of EU
recommendation for all countries to ratify the European social Charter, specially the
art. 30 and 31(right protection of poverty and right to housing)
4. Mutual responsibility
Integration and social cohesion should be the mutual responsibility of all actors and
includes rights and duties
5. information and PR � better understanding and dissemination
recommendation to ICSW: ICSW should develop an information and PR-strategy to
create a better understanding of social cohesion processes. Therefore it should
dissemination knowledge about tools, good practice and successful methods.


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Workshop 5 “Needs of people”

1. We ought to be user-focused much more in setting standards of services. We should
involve users in designing and evaluating services.
2. We consider it important that relationship between service providers and service users
is based on the balance of rights and responsibilities.
3. Relying on statistics as indicators of needs may ignore human areas such as cultural
identity, belonging, fear or crime, etc.
4. When services respond to the call for autonomy and greater choice, they should avoid
increasing isolation, because these more individual values can conflict people`s needs
for help and support.
5. Services that promote choice and independence should also address the management
of risks and develop regulatory procedures.


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Workshop 6 “Cooperation on European, national and local level”

1. Think the economic dimension never without the social dimension
2. The principle of subsidiarity is a part of the European Social Model: it has to be
applied to four levels: the local, the regional, the national and the European level.
3. Responsibilities must be clearly defined and clearly attributed to the different levels
of the EU. The level which is responsible must also have the financial means
(principle of connexity).
4. People are living on the local level. Europe is experienced on the local level. This
must be taken into consideration by the other levels: the local level must have
more to say in the European decision making process.
5. We ask the European level and the member states to introduce and implement a
Civil Dialogue including NGOs and civil society in equal partnership.
6. Concerning the Open Method of Coordination, we ask the European and the
national level, to keep the demands to the reports and the reports themselves short
and simple. The member states should involve the civil society into the National
Action Plans. They also should define clear targets they want to reach and not only
rely on results they already have achieved.
7. We want the European Union to define principles of social policy which shall be
guaranteed for all European citizens.
8. We want the European Union to encourage information exchange between all
levels, especially the local and regional level, and to support concrete projects on a
small scale like twinning partnerships between municipalities in accordance with the
principle of bottom-up.


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9. The latest referendums in France and in the Netherlands have shown that the EU
needs a communication strategy. All levels of the EU have to better explain the
meaning and the functioning to the EU-citizens involving the mass-media.


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Workshop 7 “Migration and the future of the European Social
Model”

The issue of migration and refugees is located at the heart of globalisation, with all its
potential for human development on the one hand, and all the risk of alienation,
disempowerment and polarisation on the other. Migration will be a major political and
social issue for the coming decades. Given skilful policies and genuine international
cooperation, migration can offer great potential to the migrants themselves, the receiving
countries and the countries of origin. Europe will be a key player in this process.
1. The international community should attach far greater priority to policies and
programmes that address the root causes of refugee movements and that tackle
the factors that cause migrants to move in order to survive. Such policies must
include the promotion of human rights and good governance on the one hand, and,
on the other, the reduction of poverty, disease and illiteracy through trade and
appropriate development strategies.
2. The emerging/evolving European social model requires of authorities at all levels a
radical change in their integration and social inclusion strategies. This approach
must facilitate access to social welfare systems for all so as to foster integration
rather than, as now, to repair the consequences of non-integration. This policy
should be centred on human rights to which all persons are entitled, be they citizen
or migrant. Such an approach should characterizse the entire social welfare system.
It will lead to a much needed change in the power relationships between the
service provider and the client, based on an equal partnership of rights and
responsibilities.
3. This conference is greatly concerned at examples of extreme vulnerability that
certain groups of migrants currently endure in Europe. The right to assistance in
situations of acute distress must be asserted even for those who may have entered
without documented authorisation, or those whose asylum application has been
rejected. Such a position is rooted in the fundamental principle of non
discrimination and the indivisibility of human rights.


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4. Good policy in the refugee and migration field should be based on facts. Current
policies in many European states are influenced by misrepresentation, confusion,
fear and prejudice, all of which flourish if the information base is weak or wrong.
This conference urges policy makers, opinion formers and political leaders to
counter this misrepresentation, to make use of legislation against the incitement to
racial hatred, and to take a lead in informing public opinion of the real challenges of
migration in the modern world. The role of the education sector is vital to inform
and prepare the next generation of citizens.
5. In a period of intense pressure on the social welfare budgets for asylum seekers
and migrants, stronger responsibilities fall on civil sector organisations. This
conference urges the non governmental human rights and humanitarain
community: a) to reinforce its advocacy work for humane policies, b) to strengthen
more cooperative networking with each other, and c) to engage in a vigorous and
creative dialogue with authorities at all levels in the interests of the development of
both the migrant and host communities.
6. The Conference should advocate for states policies that reflect the increasing
feminisation of migration and for particular attention to the gender reasons for
migration and on the position of refugee and migrant women. As well as policies
that ensure legal channels of entry to European states, the social welfare systems
should respond to the needs of women, including the undocumented, who are
performing necessary tasks in the informal economy, many of whom are very
vulnerable and easily open to victimisation and exploitation.
7. The ICSW should request of its member agencies an annual report-back on the
progress made in implementing these recommendations

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