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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
Marie-Josée Jacobs demands to take forward the EU social inclusion process

Date of release : 13-06-2005

Policy area : Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

On 13 and 14 June 2005, 250 experts and actors from 25 Member States of the European Union, and the acceding and candidate countries, discussed a report on strengthening the EU social inclusion process within the framework of a high-level conference organised in Luxembourg by the Luxembourg Presidency, with the support of the European Commission.

The authors of this report, sponsored by the Luxembourg Presidency, are Sir Tony Atkinson (Nuffield College, Oxford, UK), Bea Cantillon (University of Anvers, Belgium), Eric Marlier (CEPS/INSTEAD, Luxembourg) and Brian Nolan (ESRI, Ireland).

The report explores the position of the EU social inclusion process within the framework of the refocused Lisbon Strategy and formulates concrete recommendations on the implementation and development of different aspects of this process (quantified objectives, social indicators and national action plans).

It analyses in particular the way in which the Member States and the European Commission could significantly improve the follow-up on policies of inclusion as well as the exchange of good practices in the area of social monitoring.

The conclusions of the conference are a key contribution for the evaluation report on the open method of coordination in the area of social policy that the European Commission will draw up in November 2005.

During her opening speech at the conference, Marie-Josée Jacobs stated that the refocus of the Lisbon Strategy was accompanied by serious concerns as to the place reserved for the social pillar.

She congratulated the authors of the report for having chosen to highlight point 36 of the conclusions of the Spring 2005 European Council, which unequivocally maintains that: "Social inclusion policy should be pursued by the EU and by Member States, with its multifaceted approach."

She stated: "How could anyone doubt the necessity of this, when 15% of the population of the European Union is exposed to the risk of poverty and when one-fourth of the people exposed to that risk have a professional occupation!

While it is indicated that we intensify our efforts for increased growth and jobs, we should not close our eyes to the reality: there is no automatic link between economic growth and social cohesion.

If we manage to provide new impetus for growth, the most vulnerable social categories of our society will not automatically benefit.

Rather than counting on our initiatives for promoting growth and jobs to affect the most vulnerable, we should continue to attack the roots of the problem, i.e. also strengthening policies within the framework of the process of social inclusion."

This page was last modified on : 14-06-2005

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