Tag Archives: Coordination

A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies

A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social protection

A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies

The aim of this communication is to put in place an enhanced open method of coordination (OMC) for policies geared to providing social protection and combating poverty. This strengthened OMC will be more visible and will focus more on policy implementation, tying in more closely with the revised Lisbon Strategy. It will simplify the reporting process and will increase the opportunities for exchanging ideas between the Member States on the policy to be conducted.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 22 December 2005 “A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies” [COM(2005) 706 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

EVALUATION OF WORK DONE UNDER THE OMC

Before making its proposals, the Commission asked the Member States, the social partners, NGOs and social protection institutions to complete a questionnaire on the OMC and its working methods.

The parties concerned believe that the OMC is worthwhile and that it has a positive impact on policy making. They are in favour of a more streamlined process in tandem with simplified reporting.

Streamlining should:

  • bring together the three strands of work, while allowing the specific features which are important to each of them to develop further. New integrated common objectives should not reduce the scope for in-depth focus on each area of operation;
  • support more learning and integrate it more effectively with the work of reporting and evaluation;
  • foster good interaction with the revised Lisbon Strategy and the re-launched Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • promote the practice of involving stakeholders who have made the most headway in the relevant field.

NEW COMMON OBJECTIVES FOR THE STRENGTHENED OMC

These new objectives are based on the existing objectives set out in Nice as regards inclusion and in Laeken as regards pensions.

General objectives

  • Promote social cohesion and equal opportunities for all through adequate, accessible, financially sustainable, adaptable and efficient social protection systems and social inclusion policies;
  • Interact closely with the Lisbon objectives for achieving greater economic growth and more and better jobs, as well as with the Union’s Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • Improve governance, transparency and the involvement of stakeholders in the design, implementation and monitoring of policy.

Objectives applying to the different fields of operation

  • Making a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty and social exclusion

– Ensure the active inclusion of all by promoting participation in the labour market and by fighting poverty and exclusion among the most marginalised groups;
– Combat all forms of discrimination which lead to exclusion;
– Incorporate the fight against poverty and social exclusion into all relevant public policies, including economic and budgetary policies, and the Structural Fund programmes (especially the ESF).

  • Providing adequate and sustainable pensions

– Guarantee an adequate retirement income for all and access to pensions which allow people to maintain, to a reasonable degree, their living standard after retirement;
– Ensure the financial sustainability of public and private pension schemes, particularly by supporting a longer working life and active ageing, guaranteeing an appropriate and fair balance between contributions and benefits, and maintaining the security of funded and private schemes;
– Ensure that pension schemes are transparent and that people receive the information they need to prepare for retirement.

  • Ensuring accessible, high-quality and sustainable health care and long-term care

– Guarantee access for all to adequate health and long-term care, and ensure that the need for care does not lead to poverty and financial dependency;
– Promote quality of care and rational use of resources.

PROCEDURES AND WORKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR A STRENGTHENED OMC

Evaluation and reporting

The new common objectives will provide a basis for drawing up national social protection and inclusion strategies, entailing:

  • a common section assessing the social situation and presenting the overall strategic approach for modernising social protection and social inclusion policies;
  • three thematic plans covering social inclusion, pensions and health care. These plans should be forward-looking, with prioritised national objectives translating the common objectives into national plans.

The Commission will draw up a joint report (for adoption by itself and by the Council) on social protection and social inclusion, which will take stock of the progress made by the Member States and review the main trends.

Timetable for reporting and evaluation

The national strategies would normally cover a forward-looking period of three years. As regards the new Lisbon timetable, the first reports ought to be submitted in September 2006. The Member States will not be required to present national strategies in the intermediate (“light”) years. They may, if they wish, report on any new initiatives or on progress with their actions.

Supporting more mutual learning

Exchanges of practice and mutual learning should be given more prominence and be better integrated with reporting and evaluation. The planned PROGRESS budget line will provide assistance for conducting such exchanges across the whole OMC spectrum.

Stakeholder involvement and governance

The strengthened OMC should redouble the focus on promoting good governance, transparency and stakeholder involvement:

  • For inclusion: promoting participation in decision-making, ensuring policy coordination between branches and levels of government;
  • For pensions: making pension systems understandable and giving people the information they need to prepare for retirement;
  • For health: establishing good coordination between the different elements of the system and giving good information to citizens.

Enhancing visibility

Improving the visibility of the OMC would contribute positively to the policy debates in the Member States. The planned lighter rhythm of reporting and evaluation may provide an opportunity to place greater emphasis on publicising the OMC through national seminars open to all.

Background

In so far as social protection and social inclusion policies are not incorporated into Community law, the mechanism introduced by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 within the Union is called the open method of coordination (OMC). It allows the definition of common objectives and the comparison of good practices between Member States in three areas: social inclusion (since 2000), pension and retirement systems (since 2001) and the future of the health and long-term care sector (since 2004). Specifically, the OMC involves the setting of common general objectives, the drawing-up of national action plans and reports outlining the policies the Member States intend to conduct for achieving the common objectives, and the assessment of these plans and strategies in other joint reports by the Commission and the Council.

With a view to achieving more effective social policy coordination and better alignment with the Lisbon Strategy (particularly with the broad economic policy guidelines and the European employment strategy), a decision was taken in 2003 to streamline the OMC (see Commission Communication of May 2003 on the streamlining of coordination in the field of social protection).

Continuing with the streamlining effort, the present Communication proposes a new set of common objectives for the three strands of the OMC along with the application of new procedures from 2006 onwards. The strengthened OMC should operate in parallel and in close interaction with the revised Lisbon Strategy, contributing to the growth and employment objectives at the same time as the Lisbon-related programmes contribute to the social cohesion objectives.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission, of 20 April 2004, modernising social protection for the development of high-quality, accessible and sustainable health care and long-term care: support for the national strategies using the “open method of coordination” [COM(2004) 304 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission, of 27 May 2003, strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon Strategy: streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection [COM(2003) 261 final – Official Journal L 314 of 13.10.2004].

Communication from the Commission, supporting national strategies for safe and sustainable pensions through an integrated approach [COM(2001) 362 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Another Normative about A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > Social inclusion and the fight against poverty

A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies

The aim of this communication is to put in place an enhanced open method of coordination (OMC) for policies geared to providing social protection and combating poverty. This strengthened OMC will be more visible and will focus more on policy implementation, tying in more closely with the revised Lisbon Strategy. It will simplify the reporting process and will increase the opportunities for exchanging ideas between the Member States on the policy to be conducted.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 22 December 2005 “A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies” [COM(2005) 706 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

EVALUATION OF WORK DONE UNDER THE OMC

Before making its proposals, the Commission asked the Member States, the social partners, NGOs and social protection institutions to complete a questionnaire on the OMC and its working methods.

The parties concerned believe that the OMC is worthwhile and that it has a positive impact on policy making. They are in favour of a more streamlined process in tandem with simplified reporting.

Streamlining should:

  • bring together the three strands of work, while allowing the specific features which are important to each of them to develop further. New integrated common objectives should not reduce the scope for in-depth focus on each area of operation;
  • support more learning and integrate it more effectively with the work of reporting and evaluation;
  • foster good interaction with the revised Lisbon Strategy and the re-launched Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • promote the practice of involving stakeholders who have made the most headway in the relevant field.

NEW COMMON OBJECTIVES FOR THE STRENGTHENED OMC

These new objectives are based on the existing objectives set out in Nice as regards inclusion and in Laeken as regards pensions.

General objectives

  • Promote social cohesion and equal opportunities for all through adequate, accessible, financially sustainable, adaptable and efficient social protection systems and social inclusion policies;
  • Interact closely with the Lisbon objectives for achieving greater economic growth and more and better jobs, as well as with the Union’s Sustainable Development Strategy;
  • Improve governance, transparency and the involvement of stakeholders in the design, implementation and monitoring of policy.

Objectives applying to the different fields of operation

  • Making a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty and social exclusion

– Ensure the active inclusion of all by promoting participation in the labour market and by fighting poverty and exclusion among the most marginalised groups;
– Combat all forms of discrimination which lead to exclusion;
– Incorporate the fight against poverty and social exclusion into all relevant public policies, including economic and budgetary policies, and the Structural Fund programmes (especially the ESF).

  • Providing adequate and sustainable pensions

– Guarantee an adequate retirement income for all and access to pensions which allow people to maintain, to a reasonable degree, their living standard after retirement;
– Ensure the financial sustainability of public and private pension schemes, particularly by supporting a longer working life and active ageing, guaranteeing an appropriate and fair balance between contributions and benefits, and maintaining the security of funded and private schemes;
– Ensure that pension schemes are transparent and that people receive the information they need to prepare for retirement.

  • Ensuring accessible, high-quality and sustainable health care and long-term care

– Guarantee access for all to adequate health and long-term care, and ensure that the need for care does not lead to poverty and financial dependency;
– Promote quality of care and rational use of resources.

PROCEDURES AND WORKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR A STRENGTHENED OMC

Evaluation and reporting

The new common objectives will provide a basis for drawing up national social protection and inclusion strategies, entailing:

  • a common section assessing the social situation and presenting the overall strategic approach for modernising social protection and social inclusion policies;
  • three thematic plans covering social inclusion, pensions and health care. These plans should be forward-looking, with prioritised national objectives translating the common objectives into national plans.

The Commission will draw up a joint report (for adoption by itself and by the Council) on social protection and social inclusion, which will take stock of the progress made by the Member States and review the main trends.

Timetable for reporting and evaluation

The national strategies would normally cover a forward-looking period of three years. As regards the new Lisbon timetable, the first reports ought to be submitted in September 2006. The Member States will not be required to present national strategies in the intermediate (“light”) years. They may, if they wish, report on any new initiatives or on progress with their actions.

Supporting more mutual learning

Exchanges of practice and mutual learning should be given more prominence and be better integrated with reporting and evaluation. The planned PROGRESS budget line will provide assistance for conducting such exchanges across the whole OMC spectrum.

Stakeholder involvement and governance

The strengthened OMC should redouble the focus on promoting good governance, transparency and stakeholder involvement:

  • For inclusion: promoting participation in decision-making, ensuring policy coordination between branches and levels of government;
  • For pensions: making pension systems understandable and giving people the information they need to prepare for retirement;
  • For health: establishing good coordination between the different elements of the system and giving good information to citizens.

Enhancing visibility

Improving the visibility of the OMC would contribute positively to the policy debates in the Member States. The planned lighter rhythm of reporting and evaluation may provide an opportunity to place greater emphasis on publicising the OMC through national seminars open to all.

Background

In so far as social protection and social inclusion policies are not incorporated into Community law, the mechanism introduced by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 within the Union is called the open method of coordination (OMC). It allows the definition of common objectives and the comparison of good practices between Member States in three areas: social inclusion (since 2000), pension and retirement systems (since 2001) and the future of the health and long-term care sector (since 2004). Specifically, the OMC involves the setting of common general objectives, the drawing-up of national action plans and reports outlining the policies the Member States intend to conduct for achieving the common objectives, and the assessment of these plans and strategies in other joint reports by the Commission and the Council.

With a view to achieving more effective social policy coordination and better alignment with the Lisbon Strategy (particularly with the broad economic policy guidelines and the European employment strategy), a decision was taken in 2003 to streamline the OMC (see Commission Communication of May 2003 on the streamlining of coordination in the field of social protection).

Continuing with the streamlining effort, the present Communication proposes a new set of common objectives for the three strands of the OMC along with the application of new procedures from 2006 onwards. The strengthened OMC should operate in parallel and in close interaction with the revised Lisbon Strategy, contributing to the growth and employment objectives at the same time as the Lisbon-related programmes contribute to the social cohesion objectives.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission, of 20 April 2004, modernising social protection for the development of high-quality, accessible and sustainable health care and long-term care: support for the national strategies using the “open method of coordination” [COM(2004) 304 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission, of 27 May 2003, strengthening the social dimension of the Lisbon Strategy: streamlining open coordination in the field of social protection [COM(2003) 261 final – Official Journal L 314 of 13.10.2004].

Communication from the Commission, supporting national strategies for safe and sustainable pensions through an integrated approach [COM(2001) 362 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

EU response to fragile situations

EU response to fragile situations

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU response to fragile situations

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Humanitarian aid

EU response to fragile situations

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 25 October 2007 – Towards an EU response to situations of fragility – engaging in difficult environments for sustainable development, stability and peace [COM(2007) 643 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Fragile situations are a major obstacle to sustainable development, regional stability and international security. They are triggered by several factors, such as structural fragility of the economy, a number of democratic governance shortcomings, environmental degradation or access to natural resources. In these situations, the State is unwilling or incapable of meeting its obligations regarding service delivery, management of resources, rule of law, security and safety of the populace and protection and promotion of citizens’ rights and freedoms.

By virtue of its position as main donor of humanitarian aid and development aid and as an important actor in international security and policy matters, the EU has special responsibilities in addressing situations of fragility.

Early warning, analytical, monitoring and assessment tools have been developed in the area of fragility prevention. Development cooperation and political instruments play an important role in the implementation of preventive measures. Development cooperation addresses the root causes of insecurity. Within this context, country strategy papers (CSPs) present a potential that needs to be enhanced. And political dialogue, an essential element of any cooperation agreement between the EU and third countries, can help to build national strategies aiming at a durable exit from fragility.

First of all, the response to fragility is ensured by long-term development cooperation, through the CSPs in particular. In cases where this is not possible due to deterioration of the situation, the EU applies political and diplomatic instruments. Finally, when situations of fragility slide into crises with humanitarian implications, humanitarian aid is provided.
Response to fragility must be adapted to the country concerned, by focusing long-term strategic response and initial response on addressing the immediate needs of the population, vulnerable groups in particular. Moreover, it is important to avoid creating “aid orphans”, by striving for complementarity in interventions through the EU Code of Conduct and, within the humanitarian aid framework, through its Forgotten Crisis Assessment methodology. Further coordination within the EU is also necessary.

Management of the post-crisis phase is ensured by the “Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development ” (LRRD) strategic framework, which aims at the creation of synergies between the withdrawal of humanitarian aid and the transition to development activities. The Commission underlines the need to improve the framework, through better integration of governance, institutional development and security in particular.

In addressing fragility, the EU must improve the use of its resources, i.e. Community instruments, the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) instruments, but also Member States’ bilateral aid. Specifically, it should encourage increased synergy between existing financial instruments, i.e.:

  • The European Development Fund (EDF), which finances flexible mechanisms for post-emergency action and transition to the development phase.
  • The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which provide for a special emergency procedure allowing transition to development and specific measures to be implemented when stability and humanitarian aid measures cannot intervene.
  • The Instrument for Stability, which provides for support in situations of crisis or emerging crisis, initial post-crisis political stabilisation and early recovery from natural disasters.
  • The humanitarian aid instrument, used when situations of crisis have humanitarian implications, whatever the level of fragility and the causes of the crisis.
  • The thematic programme Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which provide for procedures applicable to situations that are not favourable to participatory development or to respect for human rights. Specifically, the EIDHR can fund activities without approval from the governments of partner countries, which is fundamental in certain situations of fragility.
  • Budget support, which has often been used by the Commission in post-conflict cases to address urgent financial needs, consolidate key state functions and maintain social stability.

Finally, the Commission proposes a series of actions, namely:

  • Endorsement and implementation of Principles of Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations , elaborated by the OECD Development Aid Committee (DAC).
  • More systematic inclusion of issues concerning fragility in the political dialogue with fragile partner States.
  • Regular exchanges of risk analyses and relevant EU responses, at the field level and also at headquarters.
  • Mapping of bilateral and EU aid modalities with particular focus on the complementarity of CFSP/ESDP joint actions, the Instrument for Stability, the African Peace Facility and long-term cooperation instruments.
  • Review of assessment and analytical tools on governance, conflicts and disaster monitoring.
  • Improvement of the budget support mechanism, including through better coordination with international financial institutions.
  • Strengthening of the partnership with the United Nations and other multilateral organisations.

Related Acts

Council conclusions on EU response to situations of fragility. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 19 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal] (pdf ) (FR).

The Council approves, among other things, in the name of the EU, the “Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations” and calls on the Commission to present an implementation plan for the year 2009 based on its conclusions.


Another Normative about EU response to fragile situations

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Foreign and security policy > Conflict prevention

EU response to fragile situations

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 25 October 2007 – Towards an EU response to situations of fragility – engaging in difficult environments for sustainable development, stability and peace [COM(2007) 643 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Fragile situations are a major obstacle to sustainable development, regional stability and international security. They are triggered by several factors, such as structural fragility of the economy, a number of democratic governance shortcomings, environmental degradation or access to natural resources. In these situations, the State is unwilling or incapable of meeting its obligations regarding service delivery, management of resources, rule of law, security and safety of the populace and protection and promotion of citizens’ rights and freedoms.

By virtue of its position as main donor of humanitarian aid and development aid and as an important actor in international security and policy matters, the EU has special responsibilities in addressing situations of fragility.

Early warning, analytical, monitoring and assessment tools have been developed in the area of fragility prevention. Development cooperation and political instruments play an important role in the implementation of preventive measures. Development cooperation addresses the root causes of insecurity. Within this context, country strategy papers (CSPs) present a potential that needs to be enhanced. And political dialogue, an essential element of any cooperation agreement between the EU and third countries, can help to build national strategies aiming at a durable exit from fragility.

First of all, the response to fragility is ensured by long-term development cooperation, through the CSPs in particular. In cases where this is not possible due to deterioration of the situation, the EU applies political and diplomatic instruments. Finally, when situations of fragility slide into crises with humanitarian implications, humanitarian aid is provided.
Response to fragility must be adapted to the country concerned, by focusing long-term strategic response and initial response on addressing the immediate needs of the population, vulnerable groups in particular. Moreover, it is important to avoid creating “aid orphans”, by striving for complementarity in interventions through the EU Code of Conduct and, within the humanitarian aid framework, through its Forgotten Crisis Assessment methodology. Further coordination within the EU is also necessary.

Management of the post-crisis phase is ensured by the “Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development ” (LRRD) strategic framework, which aims at the creation of synergies between the withdrawal of humanitarian aid and the transition to development activities. The Commission underlines the need to improve the framework, through better integration of governance, institutional development and security in particular.

In addressing fragility, the EU must improve the use of its resources, i.e. Community instruments, the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) instruments, but also Member States’ bilateral aid. Specifically, it should encourage increased synergy between existing financial instruments, i.e.:

  • The European Development Fund (EDF), which finances flexible mechanisms for post-emergency action and transition to the development phase.
  • The Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which provide for a special emergency procedure allowing transition to development and specific measures to be implemented when stability and humanitarian aid measures cannot intervene.
  • The Instrument for Stability, which provides for support in situations of crisis or emerging crisis, initial post-crisis political stabilisation and early recovery from natural disasters.
  • The humanitarian aid instrument, used when situations of crisis have humanitarian implications, whatever the level of fragility and the causes of the crisis.
  • The thematic programme Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development and the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which provide for procedures applicable to situations that are not favourable to participatory development or to respect for human rights. Specifically, the EIDHR can fund activities without approval from the governments of partner countries, which is fundamental in certain situations of fragility.
  • Budget support, which has often been used by the Commission in post-conflict cases to address urgent financial needs, consolidate key state functions and maintain social stability.

Finally, the Commission proposes a series of actions, namely:

  • Endorsement and implementation of Principles of Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations , elaborated by the OECD Development Aid Committee (DAC).
  • More systematic inclusion of issues concerning fragility in the political dialogue with fragile partner States.
  • Regular exchanges of risk analyses and relevant EU responses, at the field level and also at headquarters.
  • Mapping of bilateral and EU aid modalities with particular focus on the complementarity of CFSP/ESDP joint actions, the Instrument for Stability, the African Peace Facility and long-term cooperation instruments.
  • Review of assessment and analytical tools on governance, conflicts and disaster monitoring.
  • Improvement of the budget support mechanism, including through better coordination with international financial institutions.
  • Strengthening of the partnership with the United Nations and other multilateral organisations.

Related Acts

Council conclusions on EU response to situations of fragility. General Affairs and External Relations Council – 19 November 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal] (pdf ) (FR).

The Council approves, among other things, in the name of the EU, the “Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations” and calls on the Commission to present an implementation plan for the year 2009 based on its conclusions.