Austerity and the economic crisis have seen ‘Social Europe’ pushed steadily down the EU’s policy agenda. Friends of Europe therefore convened last year 25 well-known figures spanning a wide range of political opinion under the chairmanship of former Belgian deputy premier and social affairs minister Frank Vandenbroucke to analyse the facts and propose solutions.
The report’s co-signatories call on Jean-Claude Juncker and his fellow commissioners to take a broader approach to social investment that is essential to avoiding longer-term burdens on economic growth. Their report urges greater investment in the caring of Europe’s deprived and under-privileged, and the education and training that can ensure equality of opportunity.
Against a background of unacceptably high unemployment in so many EU countries, particularly of young people, the report’s key message is that human investment must be equal to physical investment.
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