The Parliament adopted, with a broad majority, its own-initiative report on a European Social Model for the future.
The rapporteurs chose something of a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach, stressing what the main political camps can agree to, without touching on any of the hot issues. In their report, they say that the European social model, in spite of the differences in social systems, “is first and foremost a question of values”. They add that all European systems share “values of equality, non discrimination and solidarity and redistribution as fundamentals, with universal, free or cheap access to education and healthcare, and a variety of other public services as the right of a citizen and as essential to creating the basis for a successful modern economy and a fair society”. They say that “[it] is in this respect that our European model differs from the US model for instance”.
At the same time, the report stresses “that there is no alternative to urgently reforming economic and social systems where they fail to meet the criteria of efficiency and socially sustainable development, and where they are inadequate to tackle the challenges of demographic change, globalisation and the IT revolution”. The Parliament “is fully aware that employment and social policy remain broadly within national competence, but stresses that the EU also has competences in this field”.
The Parliament adopted the report with a broad majority of 507 votes against 113 (42 abstentions).