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EAPN publishes assessment of the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021

Our partner, the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) has launched a report assessing the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS) 2021 and the EC proposal for a Joint Employment Report (JER) 2021, adopted as part of the European Semester Autumn Package.

In general terms, the four dimensions of the ASGS 2020 – environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness and macroeconomic stability – remained the guiding principles for the ASGS 2021, and they will underpin the Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) Member States have to submit to the European Commission by the end of April. The economic and social impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic are also taken up as priority areas for investment. These plans should also consider the Country-Specific Recommendations of the 2019 and 2020 European Semester cycles and include information on the social situation, including on poverty or social exclusion and inequality risks.

However, one of the main concerns Eurodiaconia shares with EAPN is that the ASGS 2021 makes no direct mention of poverty or inequality or of the structural changes and public investment that are needed to reduce poverty, social exclusion, and inequalities. Thus, it is not clear whether social rights and the fight against poverty are given an equal role in the ‘triangle’ of economic, environmental, and social objectives.

Concretely, these are two key messages of the report:

  1. All principles of the EPSR should be mainstreamed throughout the ASGS and the European Semester to fully support the implementation of the Action Plan for all areas and social rights.
  2. The European Semester must be rebalanced to ensure delivery on social rights, inclusive growth and a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that includes everybody.

Similarly, Eurodiaconia has been deeply engaged in the pasts European Semester cycles. Last October, we released a paper reviewing the 2020 Semester cycle and identifying our priorities for the RRPs and this year’s cycle. You can find our full report here.

To know more about the EAPN assessment, please visit their website.