Thanks to the input of our members, Eurodiaconia has been deeply engaged in the 2020 European Semester cycle and has published several reports in the last twelve months. These reports have recognised that COVID-19 dramatically altered the landscape around us and required responses that could not have been foreseen when the priorities for the 2020 Semester were being conceived. Nonetheless, they also underline the necessity of allocating sufficient attention to the needs of those people who were suffering poverty and social exclusion before the outbreak of Coronavirus and who are now – thanks to the repercussions of the pandemic and the subsequent economic shock – at increased risk of being left behind. A decade’s worth of work towards repairing the damage done by the last economic crisis has been undone in only a few months. We must not now follow the same deeply damaging path as was taken ten years ago.
The redesign of the 2021 Semester to encompass the Recovery and Resilience Facility will require, for the first time, the European Commission to sign off member state reform and investment plans before access to European funding is given. However, how firm will the Commission stand on ensuring that social objectives are given equal priority with other reforms? The Green Deal, Europe’s new growth strategy, must similarly pay due attention to wider questions of inequalities, poverty and social sustainability in its ambition to tackle climate and environmental challenges. The Recovery and Resilience Facility, with its focus on the achievement of the objectives of the Green Deal, must not lose sight of the social impact of the crisis to which it intends to respond, as well as the implications of many of the climate and environmental reforms that the Green Deal promotes.
In line with our previous publications, this paper aims to look back over the 2020 Semester cycle and chart its developments during the past twelve months, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as looking forward to the 2021 Semester in the context of the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the Green Deal and identify Eurodiaconia’s wider priorities for the recovery plans member states will submit in the coming months.
To know more about our recommendations for a fairer Europe, please check our latest publication on the European Semester.