EWL News

EWL Vice-President Borbala Juhasz elected to the Management Committee of the Social Platform.

[Brussels, 5 May 2015] A new Management Committee was elected at the General Assembly (GA) of the Social Platform for a period of two years. Borbala Juhasz, EWL Vice-President and President of the Hungarian Women’s Lobbywas elected among the seven members which include Secretary General of Eurochild Jana Hainsworth (President), Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network Barbara Helfferich (Vice-President), Managing Director of AGE Maciej Kucharczyck (Vice-President), Secretary General of the European Youth Forum Allan Päll (Treasurer), John Dolan (EASPD) and Michele LeVoy (PICUM).

European Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen and the European Ombuds(wo)man Emily O’Reilly were among the invited guests.
Commissioner Thyssen called for a ‘Triple A’ social model in Europe, indicating that there were signs of ‘recovery’. She highlighted the need to ‘modernise’ and ‘reform’ structures and systems to safeguard the European Social Model to reinforce social welfare systems to protect against risks throughout the life-cycle. She announced a 1 billion euro investment under the Youth Guarantee Scheme to counter the 5 million youth unemployment in the EU.

However, her proposals which remained anchored within the current economic governance framework, failed to acknowledge that ‘recovery’ is not reaching those on the ground, particularly those in precarious work, such as zero-hour contracts, which women are highly exposed. The ‘Triple A’ social model requires stringent and ambitious social standards, which takes into account the reality of women’s lives on the ground. In terms of migration, migrant women and men must not be seen only as a source of labour but active participants of our communities with equal access to jobs and rights. ‘Modernising’ systems requires a clarification of what we actually mean. To avoid being ‘lost in translation’, ‘modern’ systems must not become a race to the bottom, an increase in conditionalities to avail of benefits and humiliating practices such as house checks on the unemployed, ill and other beneficiaries of social protection systems.

European Ombudsman (woman) Emily O’Reilly highlighted her role in investigating mal practices within European institutions on the basis of complaints from civil society, NGOs, citizens, etc. She stressed the need to ensure that all citizens are aware of their rights and the right to file a complaint. Amongst the areas she is addressing, for which non-binding recommendations are proposed, include proposals (expected in June) to make TTIP more transparent, guidelines on EU Cohesion Policy in compliance with the Charter on Fundamental Rights; guidelines for FRONTEX in compliance with human rights standards and guidelines on the European Citizens’ Initiative (1 million signatures). As ombudsman (woman), Ms O’Reilly, outlined her power of ‘own initiative’, which she intends to reinforce in her mandate until 2019. “With limited resources, it is important to maximise impact and do only what others cannot do. A cultural shift happens when coalitions get together.” The European Ombudsman (woman) should be seen as a powerful and strategic ally.

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