Strasbourg, 4 May 2018 PECS (2018)10
EUROPEAN SOCIAL COHESION PLATFORM
Strasbourg, 3 – 4 May 2018
Council of Europe, Agora Building, room G 03
I. OPENING OF THE MEETING
1. The Platform took note of the opening speech and welcoming address by Mr Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director General, DGI – Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law. The Director General informed the Platform of the budgetary context which led to the recent adjustments of the Programme and Budget 2018 – 2019 by the Committee of Ministers. He stressed the importance of social cohesion and social rights for the implementation of the statutory objectives of the Council of Europe and, in particular, for the respect of human rights when facing challenges. He underlined the topical relevance of the themes being considered by the Platform such as automation, working time and universal basic income. He added that in 2019, budgetary means will be sought for the implementation of the mandate of the Platform.
2. Replying to the questions of the participants, the Director General stressed the importance of Council of Europe’s intergovernmental activities and that social cohesion being at the centre of the Council of Europe’s core values, the active role and outcomes of the Platform were crucial - including from the point of view of the allocation of resources. In particular, focus should be put on common actions and links between social cohesion and the core values.
II. ADOPTION OF THE DRAFT AGENDA AND ORDER OF BUSINESS
3. The Platform adopted the agenda as it appears in document PECS(2018)OJ1 and the Order of Business.
Election of the Chair and the Vice-Chair
4. The Platform elected Ms Rita Skrebiškienė (Lithuania) as Chair of the PECS and Mr Joseph Gerada (Malta) as Vice-Chair for a one year term;
Appointment of a Rapporteur on Gender Equality (2018-2019)
5. The Platform appointed Mr Michele Palma (Italy) as Rapporteur on Gender Equality (2018-2019).
IV. DEVELOPMENTS SINCE THE PREVIOUS PLENARY MEETING
6. In addition to the document reflecting recent developments - relevant to social cohesion and social rights - in member States, Council of Europe bodies and committees, and other International stakeholders, the Platform took note of the concise oral presentations on such developments since its previous plenary meeting. Member States referred to developments and challenges in areas such as pension’s reforms, migration, families, social assistance, Istanbul Convention and demography.
7. PECS members agreed to send any relevant information to be included in PECS documents - such as document PECS(2018)4 on recent developments - until 30 May 2018.
V. WORKING PROGRAMME 2018-2019
8. The Platform took note of:
- the speeches relating to the Prospective Study, more specifically:
° ‘Presentation’ by Mr Paolo Graziano, Professor, University of Padua, Author of the Study;
° ‘4-Day Workweek’ by Mr Jerzy Ciechański, Department of Economic Analyses and Forecast, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (Poland)
° ‘Middle Class’ by Mr Joe Gerada, Advisor, Ministry for Family and Social Solidarity (Malta)
° ‘Basic Income’
. ‘The Finnish basic income experiment’ by Mr Olli Kangas, Director of Government and Community Relations, Kela – The Social Insurance Institutions of Finland
. Parliamentary Assembly’s Resolution (2018) 2197 ‘The case for a basic citizenship income’
- the following fruitful debate focused on consequences of automation, migration, demography, changes of work life and subsequent difficulties at the level of employment, which call to rethink the living together and for new arrangements at the welfare level.
9. In the light of the outcomes of its previous mandate, the Prospective Study, the presentations and the following debate, the Platform discussed the implementation of its new mandate, considering also its contribution to a better implementation of the European Social Charter. The Platform decided on the orientation for the implementation of its mandate 2018-2019, in particular:
- the elaboration in 2018 of a study on middle class, including elements on demography and migration in terms of social cohesion and in relation to the European Social Charter;
- the revision of the Social Cohesion Strategy in 2019, as a concise document introducing benchmarks and covering aspects of automation, migration and inclusion;
- a debate at the next meeting of the Platform focusing on underrepresented groups in terms of social cohesion
VI. QUESTIONS OF INTEREST TO THE PLATFORM WORKING PROGRAMME
10. The Platform took note of the presentations – and following debate - relating to its working priority ‘Protection and Integration of Migrants and Refugees’:
° ‘European Social Charter’ – by Mr Marcin Wujczyk, Member of the European Committee of Social Rights;
° ‘Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees’ - Ms Michelle Lafferty, Legal Adviser, Office of the SRSG;
° ‘Intercultural Cities’ – by Ms Ivana D’Alessandro, Head of the Intercultural Cities Unit;
° ‘Conference of INGOs Migration Roadmap 2017-2018’ – by Mr Robert Bergougnan, Vice-President of the Conference.
11. The Platform took also note of the written document prepared by the Secretariat in order to complement the presentations by providing a concise overview of the Council of Europe’s activity in the field of the Protection and Integration of Migrants and Refugees.
Exchange of views with the Representatives/Secretariat of the Council of Europe’s Bodies and Committees
12. The Platform exchanged views with representatives of Council of Europe’s bodies and committees in order to find concrete ways of implementing its mandate and agreed that:
- an Intersecretariat Task Force should be created in order to support its mainstreaming mandate;
- the Secretariat should be in contact with the Secretariat of other sectors in order to identify relevant issues and documents requiring the opinion of the Platform or being within the mandate of the Platform;
- it would promote the dissemination of relevant documents received from other CoE bodies and committees.
Exchange of views with observer States, other International Institutions and NGOs
13. The Platform:
- welcomed the presentations by the representatives of Observer States, other International Institutions and the neighbourhood partnership country Morocco;
- exchanged views with the aim of a more effective cooperation;
- reached the following agreement:
o a Platform member participating in relevant meetings organised by other International Institutions, and NGOs, should refer to the activities of the Platform and possible synergies in order to strengthen and reach a more efficient external cooperation;
o every first week of each month Platform members would report on relevant developments within other international institutions and contexts, also on their presentation in meetings and events organised by such International Institutions and NGOs;
o the Secretariat of the Platform should regularly approach the Secretariats dealing with social cohesion and social rights issues within other International Institutions in order to discover possibilities for PECS intervention and participation in activities of these bodies.
VIII. WORKING METHODS AND CALENDAR
14. The Platform:
- discussed the working methods with the view of the implementation of its working programme 2018-2019 and decided to continue its work within the following 3 working groups:
WG1. Mainstreaming (social cohesion throughout the Council of Europe)
Rapporteur: Linda Volosinovsky (Hungary)
WG2. Best Practices, Innovative Approaches, New Trends and Challenges Rapporteur: Arman Sargsyan (Armenia)
WG3. Revision of the Strategy for Social Cohesion
Rapporteur: Joe Gerada (Malta)
- agreed that each Member State should join one of the three Working Groups;
- took note of the presentation of IT working tools to facilitate the implementation of its work - in particular for the functioning of the working groups and future exchanges and decisions, in line with the adjustments decided by the Committee of Ministers for 2019;
- recalled the importance of ensuring that the Secretariat will administrate and moderate the work by IT tools.
IX. REPRESENTATION OF PECS AT EXTERNAL EVENTS
15. Due to budgetary constraints the Platform decided to nominate its representatives on an ad hoc basis and that the appointment will be done by its Chair, in consultation with representatives of member States.
16. The Platform reiterated its previous decision that a PECS representative - preferably of the country where the event is taking place - would be systematically invited to attend European Social Charter cooperation events as well as the meetings of the CoE-FRA-ENNHRI-EQUINET Collaborative Platform.
X. EUROPEAN SOCIAL COHESION PLATFORM NEWSLETTER
17. The Platform discussed the Newsletter and agreed that:
- due to the budgetary restrictions and limited human resources, the Newsletter would be published every two months, instead of every month;
- the Platform’s members and participants should disseminate the Newsletter to all stakeholders interested;
- a new section would be dedicated to the developments of the work of the Platform.
XI. EUROPEAN SOCIAL COHESION PLATFORM WEBPAGE
18. The Platform took note of the presentation of its Webpage by the Secretariat and agreed to inform the Secretariat of any suggestion for improvement.
XII. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
XIII. DATE AND VENUE OF THE NEXT PECS MEETING
20. The Platform took note of the decision of the Committee of Ministers not to provide funds for its plenary meeting in 2019 and to continue its work next year mainly using IT tools to exchange information and adopt decisions.
21. In case of an improvement of the budgetary situation, the Platform intends to meet in October 2019 (week starting on 14 October or 21 October).
XIV. ABRIDGED REPORT
22. The Platform approved the draft abridged report as it appeared in document PECS(2018)10.