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Guides on the EU Social Policy.
Commission White Paper on pensions - guide
The European Commission as today issued a White paper on pensions. It puts forward policy initiatives to support Member States in the reform of their pension systems. The measures proposed by the White Paper aim to help people who are able to work longer and save more for their retirement. They aim to raise the average age at which people retire, reflecting the rising life expectancy, to encourage complementary private retirement savings and protect them, including when people change jobs and have to switch to other occupational pension schemes.
Proposal for a Regulation on the Statute for a European Foundation - guide
The European Commission has presented a proposal for a European Foundation Statute to make it easier for foundations to support public benefit causes across the EU.
European Social Entrepreneurship Funds - guide
Social businesses are companies that have a positive social impact and address social objectives as their corporate aim rather than only maximising profit. It is a growing sector in Europe, already representing 10% of all European businesses and employing over 11 million paid employees. While these businesses often receive public support, private investment via funds that invest in social entrepreneurs remains vital to their growth. However, such specialised social investment funds are rare or are not large enough. Cross-border investment in such funds is unnecessarily complicated and expensive. With today's proposal for a Regulation, the Commission lays the foundations for a strong European market for social investment funds. It introduces a new "European Social Entrepreneurship Funds" label so investors can easily identify funds that focus on investing in European social businesses. The approach is simple: once the requirements defined in the proposal are met, managers of social investment funds will be able to market their funds across the whole of Europe. To get the label, a fund will have to prove that a high percentage of investments (70% of the capital received from investors) is spent in supporting social business. Uniform rules on disclosure will ensure that investors get clear and effective information on these investments.
Consultation on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the EU - guide
The European Commission has launched a public debate on the right to family reunification of third-country nationals living in the EU. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the Commission will decide whether any policy follow-up is necessary – such as setting up clear guidelines, modifying the current rules or leaving the legislation as it is.
Corporate Social Responsibility: new definition, new agenda for action - guide
The European Commission's new strategy on corporate social responsibility (CSR), part of a package of measures on responsible business, aims to help enterprises achieve their full potential in terms of creating wealth, jobs and innovative solutions to the many challenges facing Europe's society. It sets out how enterprises can benefit from CSR as well as contributing to society as a whole by taking greater steps to meet their social responsibility.
Social Business Initiative - guide
The European Commission has adopted a Social Business Initiative action plan as part of a package of measures entitled the Responsible Business Initiative.
Cohesion: legislative package of EU regional, employment and social policy for 2014-2020 - guide
Cohesion policy is implemented through programmes which run for the duration of the EU seven-year budget cycle. The current 455 programmes are foreseen until 2013. This is why it is necessary to define the architecture of the policy for the new generation of programmes and allocations for 2014-20. Today’s legislative package includes an overarching regulation setting out common rules governing the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). One set of rules instead of 5. Three specific regulations for the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund will also be included, as well as two regulations dealing with the European territorial cooperation goal and the European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC). The Commission also adopted proposals for two instruments in the area of employment and social policy, namely the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and the Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI), as well as a communication on the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF).
Protecting Children in the Digital World - Commission Report on the Protection of Minors
How Member States are implementing EU Recommendations ensuring children can enjoy the digital world confidently and safely are reviewed by the European Commission in a report presented today. Member States and industry are increasingly making efforts to implement EU Recommendations dating from 1998 and 2006 on the protection of minors using audiovisual and online services. But the measures taken have been insufficient overall.
EU framework for national Roma strategies - guide
Europe's 10-12 million Roma continue to face discrimination, exclusion and the denial of their rights, while governments lose out on increased revenue and productivity because potential talent could go wasted. Better economic and social integration is an imperative – but to be effective, concerted action is needed at all levels to address the multiple causes of exclusion. The European Commission is therefore today putting forward a European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. This EU Framework will help guide national Roma policies and mobilise funds available at EU level to support inclusion efforts. The Framework focuses on four pillars: access to education, jobs, healthcare and housing. Member States should set individual national Roma integration goals in proportion to the population on their territory and depending on their starting point.
Annual report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights - guide
The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights has now been legally binding for over a year – primarily on the EU institutions (European Parliament, Council and the European Commission) when preparing new European laws, but also on national authorities if they are implementing EU law. As part of its efforts to make fundamental rights a reality for citizens in the EU, the European Commission is reporting for the first time on how the Charter is being applied. The Annual Report on the application of the Charter shows that fundamental rights are relevant across a wide range of policies – from data protection to immigration and asylum – and that public interest in the Charter runs high. However, the report also highlights that the Charter is frequently misunderstood. In 2010, the Commission received more than 4,000 letters from the general public regarding fundamental rights. Approximately three quarters of these concerned cases outside the remit of EU law. In addition, a recent survey by the European Ombudsman found that 72% of Europeans do not feel well informed about the Charter. Today's report is a first step in addressing these challenges, clarifying where the Charter applies and where it does not. This will ease citizens' access to justice. The report should help citizens determine where they need to turn when they believe that their fundamental rights have been violated by an EU institution or a national authority. The Annual Report is therefore part of the Commission's strategy to ensure that fundamental rights are effectively implemented so that people can rely on them in practice.
Clearer property rights for Europe's 16 million international couples - guide
What happens to your house if you get divorced and your spouse is of another nationality? What happens to a joint bank account if the spouse dies? What happens in such cases if you and your spouse have the same nationality, but you have property or a bank account abroad? In Europe, there are around 16 million international couples, and at least 650,000 of them face these questions every year when their marriage or partnership comes to an end. Citizens lose time and money figuring out which law applies to their case and which court is competent to help them. Legal divergences between the 27 EU Member States create an incentive for "forum shopping" or a "rush to the court." This happens when one spouse – usually the wealthier one – rushes to a court where he/she thinks the outcome will be the most beneficial. The European Commission is therefore proposing EU-wide rules to bring legal clarity to the property rights for married international couples and for registered partnerships with an international dimension. The two proposed Regulations would help identify which law applies to a couple's property rights and the responsible court. The Regulations also provide for rules for recognising and enforcing court judgments on a couple's property in all EU Member States through a single procedure. The proposals are the first deliverable of the Commission's October 2010 Citizenship Report, which outlined 25 major practical obstacles that Europeans still face in their daily lives. Today's proposals are the logical next step following the swift agreement last year on EU legislation to determine which country's rules apply in cross-border divorce cases.
112 - Europe's single emergency number - guide
To mark "European 112 Day" on 11th February, the European Commission is urging EU Member States to step up their efforts to increase public awareness of the existence of 112, the number which can be used in all Member States to reach emergency services. An EU-wide survey released today shows around three out of four EU citizens still do not know this life-saving number. However, EU telecoms rules require Member States to make their citizens aware of the 112 number. To increase the protection of EU citizens, Member States are further required to improve the accuracy and reliability of caller location information under the new EU telecoms rules, which must be implemented into national law by 25 May this year.
Missing children hotline 116 000 - guide
The European Commission today made a final call to 14 EU Member States to make the Europe-wide 116 000 hotline for missing children operational as soon as possible. The hotline provides a single number for missing children and their parents to call for help anywhere in the EU. Having the same hotline will help children and parents in trouble get help when away from home, such as during family holidays. In a report adopted today, the Commission takes stock of the situation in the Member States, proposes common minimum quality requirements for the service throughout the EU and gives Member States a last chance to make the hotline operational before considering legislative measures.
European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 - guide
Most people take it for granted that they can hop on a bus to go shopping, surf the Internet or enjoy a television series. But for the 80 million Europeans with a disability, there may be major obstacles that put these activities out of reach. The European Commission today adopted a new strategy to break down these barriers. The plan outlines how the EU and national governments can empower people with disabilities so they can enjoy their rights. Specific measures over the next decade range from the mutual recognition of national disability cards, the promotion of standardisation to a more targeted use of public procurement and state aid rules. These measures will have substantial societal benefits, but should also produce a knock-on effect on Europe's economy. They could for example enhance the EU market for assisted devices and services, which already today has an estimated annual value of over €30 billion. The Commission will also consider whether to propose a "European Accessibility Act" by 2012 to further develop the Single Market for accessible products and services.
Costs and benefits of maternity and paternity leave - guide
Differing views about the costs and benefits of introducing 18 or 20 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave and two weeks of fully-paid paternity leave were voiced by MEPs and invited experts at a joint workshop held on 5 October by the European Parliament's Women's Right Committee and Employment Committee.
Commission statement - situation of the Roma and EU law on free movement of EU citizens
As announced earlier this month, the European Commission has today assessed recent developments in France and discussed the overall situation of the Roma and EU law on free movement of EU citizens.
Roma people living in the EU - guide
There are between 10 million and 12 million Roma in the European Union, in candidate countries and potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans. Roma people living in the EU are EU citizens and have the same rights as any other EU citizen. A significant number of Roma live in extreme marginalisation in both rural and urban areas and in very poor social-economic conditions. They are disproportionally affected by discrimination, violence, unemployment, poverty, bad housing and poor health standards.
Future of pensions - guide
The European Commission has launched a Europe-wide public debate on how to ensure adequate, sustainable and safe pensions and how the EU can best support the national efforts. Ageing populations in all Member States have put existing retirement systems under massive strain and the financial and economic crisis has only increased this pressure. The consultation document, a Green paper, poses a series of questions inviting all interested parties to contribute views, opinions and ideas on confronting the pension challenge - one of the biggest facing Europe and most parts of the world today – and how the EU can contribute to the solutions.
EU's modernised social security - Briefing
On 1 May 2010, new regulations on social security coordination in the European Union enter into force. The aim is to make life easier for Europeans on the move.
Communication on Roma in Europe and Progress Report on Roma inclusion 2008-2010
Roma communities, the European Union’s largest ethnic minority, continue to face persistent discrimination and segregation. The European Commission urged EU Member States in a report today to use EU funds for the social and economic integration of Roma. Ensuring these communities’ access to jobs and non-segregated education, housing and health services is vital to their social inclusion, the report said. The integration of the estimated 10 to 12 million Roma – a population as large as Belgium’s or Greece’s – is a joint responsibility of Member States and EU institutions. A separate report evaluated the progress achieved in integration over the past two years.