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Policy issues concerning European Union

Economic recovery has yet to be experienced by large numbers of people in Europe.  Many remain excluded as they continue to lose out in employment, education, healthcare, poverty and related services.  This is undermining the confidence many people had in the European project because they see the EU constantly giving priority to economic issues ahead of social challenges.

There has been a profound failure of policy across the EU since the 2008 crash, a failure that raises serious questions concerning the EU’s commitment to protecting its millions of powerless and vulnerable people, according to Social Justice Ireland’s latest research study on EU developments.

The European Commission this week published the 2015 EU Youth Report. With regard to Ireland, the report reveals that Ireland recorded the highest fall in percentage points in its youth population since 2010 (-4 pp.). Ireland also recorded one of the largest proportions of young citizens leaving the country to settle in another EU Member State, although this trend is declining.

Austerity policies in the EU have contributed to intense economic suffering, particularly for young people and other vulnerable social groups, a new report has found. 123 million EU citizens – one in every four – are at risk of poverty or social exclusion – an increase of 7 million in the six years up to 2013.  An extra 8.4 million people became unemployed in the same period and almost one quarter of economically active young people in the EU are unemployed.  Young people constitute the largest group in the EU that is underemployed and feels discouraged in looking for work.

Thomas Fazi's presentation at the Social Policy Conference 2014 is available to view.  Click the 'read more' link below to watch a larger video or to download the full text of the presentation.

The full text of the Briefing provided by Social Justice Ireland to the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Committee on January 17, 2014 Can be accessed here

More than 285,000 people call on EU to consider Basic Income

285,042 EU citizens have called on the European Commission to consider a Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a fairer and simpler social security system.  Each of these citizens signed The European Citizens Initiative (ECI)1 for Unconditional Basic Income (UBI).2 The collection of signatures officially ended on Tuesday January 14th 23.59pm.  

Professor Seán Ó Rian presented a paper at Social Justice Ireland's 2013 Social Policy Conference entitled 'Economic Foundations of Social Progress - Ireland through a Nordic Lens'.  The paper examines social protection, employment, finance and institutional transformation from an Irish and a European perspective.

The paper is available here.

The presentation and Q & A session are available to view below.

Ireland needs a combination of vision and pragmatic policies that can truly move the country towards a desirable and sustainable future.  We also need to focus on evidence rather than on the endless assertions we hear communicated each day seeking to defend dubious policy developments.

These were two of the points made by Sean Healy, Brigid Reynolds and Michelle Murphy at Social Justice Ireland's Policy Conference on 'A Future Worth Living For'.

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