Correspondent's Choice

The following article about the Spanish Presidency of the EU was published by EurActiv on 28th January 2010.

Dismayed by the lack of a social dimension to the European Commission’s draft ‘2020 Strategy’, centre-left MEPs and trade unions told EurActiv that the Spanish EU Presidency was their best hope of securing a genuine social commitment in Europe’s next ten-year economic plan.

The so-called ‘social lobby’ has mobilised strongly in recent months, vocally criticising the method – as well as the message – of the draft ‘EU 2020’ strategy, arguing that it was agreed behind closed doors between member states without proper consultation of civil society.

Social partners and trade unions scored a strategic victory when pressure from their member organisations led the European Commission to put back the final deadline for approval of the new plan from March to June 2010.

This has created an extended “window of opportunity” during which the social lobby can fight for a revised plan, German Green MEP Elisabeth Schroedter, vice-president of the European Parliament’s committee on employment and social affairs, told EurActiv.

The committee, which met yesterday (27 January), wants to see commitments to tackle inequality, social exclusion and low wages explicitly woven into the final text of the EU 2020 strategy.

Meanwhile, social NGOs want European Commission President José Manuel Barroso Barroso to move beyond “social term-dropping,” in the words of one leading member, and move towards outlining detailed policy prescriptions.

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