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On 4 March, the Progressive Economy Initiative by the S&D group in the European Parliament held a high-level conference on the challenge to combine economic growth and social progress. Among the participants were Commissioner Moscovici, MEPs Maria Joao Rodrigues, Jutta Steinruck and Elisa Ferreira as well as former Prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and SOLIDAR Secretary General Conny Reuter.Commissioner Moscovici outlined in his opening statement that growth will not come back instantly and that the Juncker Plan for investment is a good step in the right direction as investment levels in Member States remain significantly below their pre-crisis levels. He added that “We need budgetary discipline, but no more orthodox approaches.” He engaged that the new Commission will ensure a reorientation of EU policies as well as more fiscal transparency and harmonisation.
On 4th March 2015 the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, issued a joint consultation paper “Towards a new European Neighborhood Policy”. The new communication highlights the new ENP main focus-priorities, among others, will be on “Promoting Trade and inclusive sustainable and economic development and enhancing job opportunities, addressing security in the region and enhance stability, promote democratic governance, ensuring rule of law and fundamental rights; and promoting migration and mobility”. In this regard, SOLIDAR thinks that the new ENP policy should further address the root causes of inequalities through the promotion of rights-based policies that can achieve sustainable economic growth, promote democratic transition, and ensure sustainable and inclusive multi-stakeholders dialogue.
The European Commission held yesterday an orientation debate on the development of a new comprehensive European Agenda on Migration in order to deliver on the political guidelines of President Juncker. The Agenda, announced to be launched by the end of May, will present actions to improve the EU’s capacity to manage migration flows as well as to address challenges and opportunities of migration.
Last week at the European Parliament’s meeting of the Committee for Culture and Education, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility – Commissioner Marianne Thyssen presented the Commission’s plans to overcome to current employment challenges Europe is facing. Despite of the fact that at the end of 2014 there were 0,5m less people unemployed that – in her eyes - could be seen as a cautious good prognosis, there are still 24m people unemployed, 5m young people aged 15-24, out of which 43% is unemployed for more than a year.