CEMR-EP/EPSU Joint Statement on the Active Inclusion of those furthest from the Labour Market

CEMR-EP/EPSU Joint Statement on the Active Inclusion of
those furthest from the Labour Market

EU Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Regional and Local

February 2008


1. CEMR-EP and EPSU welcome the Communication on “Modernising social
protection for greater social justice and economic cohesion: taking forward
the active inclusion of people furthest from the labour market “ COM (2007)

2. We underline that social inclusion is an important issue for the EU, Member States, and social partners (in all sectors) given that 16% of the EU
population is at risk from financial poverty, including 8% of employed workers.

3. CEMR-EP and EPSU point out that the role of local and regional authorities in promoting active inclusion is threefold: as employers, promoters of economic development and employment, and as providers of public services, including services for the most vulnerable groups.

The EU strategy on active inclusion:

In response to the issues raised in the consultation paper:

4. We welcome further work on active inclusion within the framework of the
OMC and would like to see further support for joint evaluation and sharing of best practice, as a key element to improve quality of services and
employment policy in local and regional government.

5. The development of statistics concerning active inclusion at EU-level, within the OMC, could be a tool in comparisons between member states. Such
comparisons could serve as an incentive for member states in their work on
active inclusion.

6. CEMR-EP and EPSU agree with the common EU principles on active
inclusion. We consider these should remain broad and general in order to
allow for their implementation in a large diversity of local and regional
realities, on the basis of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles.

7. We welcome the Commission's recognition of the crucial role played by public services in promoting active inclusion. In this respect we query the distinction made by the Commission in 4.3 between services of general interest (SGI) and social services of general interest (SSGI). All public services, e.g. also education, public transport, childcare provision are important to ensure social cohesion and inclusion. We do not think it is possible for the EU-level to give priority to certain public services over others.

8. We would also like to stress that the link between the quality of employment in local and regional government and the quality of the services provided needs to be better taken into account. Improving quality of work and wellbeing
in the sector will contribute to improving efficiency and quality of
services. This is an important theme in the EPSU / CEMR-EP social

9. In this respect further research and evaluation is needed to find ways to
properly measure and assess productivity and efficiency in local and regional
administration as a tool to ensure high quality services (i.e. use of new
technologies, work organisation, etc).

10. We consider the proposed Network of Local Observatories could constitute a
potential instrument to exchange experiences and good practices on quality
local public services. However, we warn against risk of leading to greater
duplication and increased monitoring burden and therefore would like the
Network to remain a flexible instrument. We also stress the need to involve all
stakeholders in the work of the Observatories in a participative and
transparent way.

11. CEMR-EP and EPSU have expressed in the past their continuing support to
promoting active inclusion: ‘The social partners in the local and regional
government set a high priority to creating and preserving work for the most
vulnerable groups on the labour market' (CEMR-EP and EPSU Joint
Statement on Employment, 1997). As part of our activities within the EU
sectoral social dialogue committee on regional and local government, CEMREP
and EPSU have recently adopted guidelines for the development and
implementation of gender equality plans (December 2007) and have held a
working group session on diversity policies and integration of migrants in
public administration at regional and local level.

12. It is vital to provide local and regional government with the adequate
resources and flexibility to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable.
Effective and modern public services should be sufficiently financed.

13. On the other hand, promoting active inclusion at local level can only be
achieved by promoting joint-up work and partnership. This means that the
implementation of active inclusion measures should be equally shared by all
stakeholders, including private employers. In this respect social procurement
can be an important tool to influence private providers of public services,
ensure a level-playing field in employment conditions in the local and regional
government sector, and indeed to stimulate quality employment across all

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