Last week, the European Commission released its “Autumn Package” and launched the new European Semester Cycle. One of the key documents, the Annual Growth Survey, highlights the need to support health and social services, in line with Eurodiaconia priorities.

The Annual Growth Survey (AGS) is the most general and comprehensive document of the Autumn Package, analysing the most recent trends in terms of economic and social policies in Europe. Building on this analysis, it sets out the EU’s economic and budgetary priorities and announces the main policy steps for the coming year.

With the mandate of the Juncker Commission coming to an end after this cycle, the 2019 AGS was expected to be aligned with the previous one, which had taken further steps in rebalancing the priorities between economic and social concerns in line with the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This year’s AGS went a step further in taking on social challenges.

Far from being too complacent about the all-time high of the European employment rate, the European Commission shows impressive realism in its assessment of the damaging inequalities and remaining poverty in Europe.

Ahead of this year’s AGS, Eurodiaconia key messages have been to rethink the virtuous triangle in both economic and social terms, to promote quality employment, to tackle child poverty, to provide targeted and tailored services for migrants, to ensure affordable and accessible housing, and to increase the focus on health and social care services. Following the AGS publication, our network is currently working on a new article to highlight the network position, and a new poll to call for our members’ inputs.

To know more about the 2019 AGS and the Autumn Package, please read the European Commission fact sheets.