Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 01.06.2020, 22:28

Social dimension in national policies

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 11.10.2018.Print version

Last year has marked a turning point in the development of the social dimension both in the European integration and in the member states’ policies. These European initiatives signaled the emergence of a new paradigm in the states’ political agenda with a lasting effect on all society’s spheres.

The proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg in November 2017 served as a focal “instrument” in turning the European debates on “social Europe” into tangible national measures. However, the EU institutions and the member states remain quite confused and contradictory about their corresponding roles in progressive social policies.

Among most difficult issues is the necessity of reconciling the free movement of people and workers (as one of the fundamental components of EU’s single market) with the internal social cohesion concepts in the EU member states’ welfare policies, both in the countries of origin and in the host countries.

Alongside the EU’s efforts towards economic convergence, there is a need to speed up the social convergence with an adequate solidarity approach. No doubt, the EU’s structural funds and cohesion instruments play a vital role in this process; but the role of the states is important as well.


Hence, e.g. in forming a new government after recent parliament elections in Latvia, the expected coalition has to keep in mind such priorities as adequate education and training policies, measures to reduce income inequality (e.g. on some accounts, there are about 20% of Latvian that are living below the minimum level of subsistence) and initiatives to support new skills. In short, these priorities can contribute both to Latvian national social cohesion and to social convergence on the Union’s level.    


Experts in Foundation Robert Schuman have identified three areas in which concrete action by the Union is necessary as a “leitmotif of European action”: promoting upward convergence in social standards and performance; guaranteeing fair mobility; and making investment in human capital.

See more in: https://www.robert-schuman.eu/en/doc/questions-d-europe/qe-487-en.pdf

They correctly underline that the European Social Fund (originated from 1957), had elaborated recently some successful funds and schemes: e.g. the Erasmus programme and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The need for improving workers’ productivity and adaptability to the globalisation process and the digital transitions makes the investment in human capital imperative.

In short, the new Latvian parliament and the government have to keep in mind the realities of “social Europe” while making efficient steps towards social cohesion in the country.





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