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EU OPEN METHOD OF COORDINATION
In 2000 the European Council of Heads of State and Government of the then 15 Member States pledged in Lisbon to make a decisive impact on poverty by 2010. This is to be achieved in the context of the overall strategic goal for that 10-year period of making the European Union
Open Method of Coordination – overall aims
The Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) has been developed as a process to support and facilitate Member States in meeting the goal on poverty eradication and linked goals in employment and other social areas, such as pensions, health care and making work pay. The process recognises what has come to be termed the inter-linked and inter-dependent policy triangle of economic, employment and social policies. Economic development is, of course, essential to make progress in the employment and social spheres. However, it is often not sufficiently recognised that economic development is also dependent on both employment and social development.
It is no longer only a case of creating jobs through economic development, but also of ensuring that workers have the necessary education, training, skills and confidence to attract jobs in the dynamic, knowledge based economy required to maintain competitiveness. It is acknowledged that poverty is not only a major source of human suffering, but it also retards economic competitiveness both now and, in the case of child poverty, into the future. It can prevent those affected and their families from achieving their full human potential and from contributing positively to social and economic development. It can also serve to retard the achievement of greater social cohesion, which is a key element for both social and economic development.
Achieving the employment and social goals of the Lisbon Strategy, while at the same time striving to be the most dynamic and knowledge-based competitive economy in the world is a major challenge. Member States also share common challenges to a greater or lesser degree in the social area which include:
They also share a common goal of maintaining and enhancing the European social model, which involves a major role for the state, in a spirit of solidarity, in providing social protection and promoting greater social cohesion.
In light of these realities it is accepted that meeting the social goals will be greatly assisted by a co-ordinated approach. This process facilitates a pooling of knowledge, experience, and best practices from the various Member States in their diversity of traditions, political philosophies, levels of economic development, and degrees of State, private sector and family involvement in combating poverty and achieving other positive social outcomes. However, it is also an open process which leaves Member States free to choose the mix of policies and priorities which they consider is best suited to meet the agreed set of common objectives. There is no blueprint under open coordination to which Member States must adhere, but through participation in the process they can learn in detail how other Member States are meeting the common challenges, and have their approaches evaluated by the Commission and other Member States.
EU New Common Objectives
In March 2006, the European Council adopted a new framework for the social protection and social inclusion process. There is a new set of common objectives: Three overarching objectives and objectives for each of the three policy areas of social inclusion, pensions and health and long-term care.
The communication “Working together, working better: proposals for a new framework for the open co-ordination of social protection and inclusion policies” sets forward detailed proposals for the streamlining of the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) in the field of social protection and inclusion. The existing OMC’s in the fields of social inclusion and pensions, and the current process of co-operation in the field of health and long-term care, will be brought together under common objectives – in continuity with the Nice and Laeken objectives - and simplified reporting procedures.
(h) the financial sustainability of public and private pension schemes, bearing in mind pressures on public finances and the ageing of populations, and in the context of the three-pronged strategy for tackling the budgetary implications of ageing, notably by: supporting longer working lives and active ageing; by balancing contributions and benefits in an appropriate and socially fair manner; and by promoting the affordability and the security of funded and private schemes;
COMMUNITY PROGRAMME FOR EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL SOLIDARITY - PROGRESS
Member State co-operation to combat poverty and social exclusion is supported through the new PROGRESS Programme 2007-2013. The overall aim of PROGRESS is to financially support the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, as set out in the Social Agenda. It will thereby also contribute to the achievement of the EU 'Lisbon' Growth and Jobs Strategy. More specifically, PROGRESS will support:
Section 2 of the Programme shall support the implementation of the open method of coordination (OMC) in the field of social protection and inclusion by:
Full details regarding the programme can be found on the website of the European Commission at
Department of Social Protection, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1,