Open letter from EESC President Mario SEPI to Commissioner ANDOR: we need to address social exclusion through education
(European Economic and Social Committee)
Dear Commissioner ANDOR,
As President of the European Economic and Social Committee, may I single out some of the key issues that, against the background of the current crisis, we consider as crucial challenges for the new European Commission in the field of employment and social affairs.
In its role as civil society┤s bridge to the EU institutions, the Committee is particularly exercised by the need to give concrete answers to Europeans. We have to move forward, especially now with the new Treaty, in order to be accountable and credible vis-Ó-vis our societies.
For this reason, we have already urged the European Commission to adopt a Social Action Programme, based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
We also believe that it is urgent to provide our citizens with a detailed schedule of the additional steps that Europe intends to take in order to tackle the jobs crisis.
In particular, support for employment and productive investments should go hand in hand with new powers at European level, as well as the development of a new common EU strategy.
This strategy should include a new emphasis on growth and jobs, on the social dimension and it should be inspired by a diĆ erent, more sustainable economic development model.
As a matter of fact, we think that in tackling social and economic emergencies, it is vital to take account of the global context in which our human capital is located.
2010 is at the same time the European year for combating poverty and social exclusion and a year in which we have to address the most severe consequences of the crisis, not least by promoting
voluntary, non-profit measures.
That is why we believe that the emphasis has to be put on the problem of social exclusion.
One of the main European challenges is to answer the following question: how are we to combat social exclusion? We are convinced that education is a key aspect of efforts to address this issue!
Education as a crucial means of combating social exclusion, education in all its meanings and forms, addressing all categories of the excluded population, minorities, immigrants, workers, poor workers and young people who need retraining to acquire the skills needed in Europe and on labour markets, all those who are marginalized by the lack of integration in the economic system and the job market, and by the failure to achieve social and cultural integration in broad terms.
EDUCATION TO COMBAT SOCIAL EXCLUSION is, for all these reasons, the topic we have chosen to focus on at the EESC
Biennale Conference which will take place in Florence on 20-22 May. On this occasion, the European Commission┤s input will be one of the key contributions to the definition of the new EU strategy.
In a phase where it is vital to develop synergies, where we have to fully utilize innovation and investment in order to make the most of social capital, education has a key role to play in combating social exclusion, a common problem to be addressed under a new and integrated European strategy.
Mario Sepi, President of the EESC
See the letter here