Since the start of the crisis in 2008, we’ve been hearing a lot about fiscal and financial issues– everything from austerity and deficits through monetary policy and quantitative easing to volatility and yields. But the difficult period that Europe has been going through isn’t just about economics and finance. It’s about people, too. So this week in the blog we focus on employment and social issues– how the EU is responding to the difficult situation that many of its citizens find themselves in. It’s a timely topic since this week the European Council will discuss the social dimension of the European Monetary Union.
First, the Library has published a selection of the most important sources to help you understand the Commission’s new Social Investment Package– including analyses, views from stakeholders and statistical sources.
One of the goals of the Social Investment Package is combating poverty and social exclusion. As a complement to a briefing earlier this year (in French) on poverty and the impact of the economic crisis, we are writing a briefing to focus on how poverty affects children – the future Europeans on which our society will depend. One element in helping children stay out of poverty and to develop to their full potential is affordable, good quality housing, so in another “keysource”, we present the most current and important references on social housing in the EU.
Work helps people stay out of poverty, too, but it’s not always easy to combine it with other aspects of life. Our briefing on work-life balance looks at what kind of policies help people to reconcile work with family responsibilities. And safety and health at work is another current topic: the Commission recently launched a consultation on a new strategy for 2013-2020, so one of our staff has summarised evaluations of the work that’s been done over the past six years.
Changes in trade patterns and negative impacts of restructuring lead to job losses throughout Europe. The crisis played a part in worsening conditions. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) is part of the EU’s response by supporting people who lost their job and helping them to reintegrate into the labour market. Our briefing provides an overview of the EGF and looks into the future of the fund.
And finally we haven’t forgotten our very oldest citizens, particularly those who require help with daily activities as they age. A new briefing looks at the issues involved with paying for and providing long-term care to ensure that their needs are met in a responsible and sustainable way.
Oh, and let us not forget where it all begins – with the problem of falling fertility rates in the EU!