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20 European organizations sign a joint letter to request an ambitious EU Strategic Agenda 2024-2029 on social and health topics

Twenty European organizations have sent a joint letter to the Council of the European Union and Member States urging them to ensure that the EU Strategic Agenda 2024-2029 “keeps social and health ambitions high, as a prerequisite to achieving a strong, dynamic, competitive and cohesive Europe”. Among the signatory organizations are the International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM), the European Public Health Alliance, the European Association working for Carers or the European Anti-Poverty Network EAPN (see original letter and all signatory organizations).

The signatories recall that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vital importance of having robust and resilient health and social protection systems. “The concurrent challenges of population ageing, climate change, cost-of-living increases, accessibility and affordability of healthcare can only be overcome by giving health and social priorities the attention they deserve,” states the letter, which adds: “Only then will the EU be able to build a European Union fit for the future, with resilient and sustainable social security and healthcare systems that serve economic prosperity”.

Building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe was a central pillar for EU action in the previous EU Strategic Agenda (2019-2024). As highlighted by the Council in its Porto declaration, the European Pillars of Social Rights (EPSR) are “a fundamental element of the recovery” and are “at the core of a highly competitive social market economy”. According to the 20 signing organizations, in the current context “addressing social inequalities and the affordability of evidence-based healthcare are crucial for promoting cohesion and economic stability. A strong European economy goes hand in hand with a social and healthy Europe that works for all”.

During the Spanish Presidency, the Council of the EU committed itself to “continue its efforts to build a more cohesive, innovation-driven, and interconnected Single Market, preserving (…) its social dimension and its openness”, as stated in the Granada declaration. The ambitious agenda of the Belgian presidency foresees the perspective of the interinstitutional declaration of La Hulpe, intended to serve as a model for future EU social policy work. The momentum generated by these two presidencies shall provide a strong emphasis on health and social aspects for the next EU term.

The letter concludes: “We believe that the social and health dimensions are of utmost importance and should be given the necessary attention at EU level, just as EU citizens do, according to the most recent European Parliament barometer. Therefore, we call for these priorities to be included in the Strategic Agenda 2024-2029 and for future decision-makers to provide adequate responses for a truly citizen-centred, solidarity-based social Europe”.

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CIRIEC-International CIRIEC-España Social Economy Europe Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social Unión Europea