European Commission releases Annual Sustainable Growth Survey (ASGS) 2023: What’s in it for Europe’s Roma?
On 22 November 2022, the European Commission published the Annual Sustainable Growth Survey 2022, accompanied by the draft Joint Employment Report 2022 (among other annexes), as part of the Autumn Package launching the European Semester 2022. The Annual Sustainable Growth Survey reaffirms that “the European Semester and the Recovery and Resilience Facility continue to provide a robust framework for effective policy coordination in view of the current challenges”, while it also confirms the commitment to the four complementary dimensions of the European Semester: environmental sustainability, productivity, fairness, and macroeconomic stability.
- Read our full response to Autumn Package here!
ERGO Network warmly welcomes the explicit mention of the Roma in this year’s Annual Sustainable Growth Survey (page 11), in the context of supporting their access to employment. We further appreciate wording about the implementation of the Union of Equality, which includes important strategies such as the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan and the EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation among others. While these references are minimal, they are nonetheless commendable after two years in a row where the ASGS made no reference to the Roma or to these important strategies. However, disappointingly, discrimination, racism, or antigypsyism are not mentioned at all.
As every year, the main focus of the document is on the green and digital transitions. Social concerns are dealt with under the Fairness section (one of the four dimensions of the European Semester), which is rather narrowly dedicated to employment and skills. Nevertheless, we appreciate calls to strengthen collective bargaining and to raise wage levels, to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare and long-term care systems, and to preserve and improve de adequacy of social safety nets, including pensions. It is a pity, however, that access to adequate and affordable housing is not mentioned, and that education continues to be understood in a limited sense of providing skills for jobs. We equally salute language about delivering affordable energy and mitigating the economic and social impact of high energy prices on vulnerable households.
We are very pleased to see Europe’s Roma mentioned multiple times in the Joint Employment Report, concerning issues such as their heightened risk of experiencing poverty and social exclusion (including that of children), gaps in educational outcomes, early school leaving, school segregation, discrimination in accessing healthcare, and labour market integration. Additionally, strong links are made to the EU Strategic Framework on Roma Equality, Inclusion, and Participation, as part of the Union of Equality. Very disappointingly though, there is no mention of antigypsyism or racism, and only four references to discrimination.
The ASGS reaffirms the European Commission’s commitment to “an inclusive process and the timely involvement of social partners and other relevant stakeholders during the European Semester cycle”, calling on Member States to “engage actively […] in particular representatives of civil society organisations, through regular exchanges” (our bold). This is very positive, as are the several references to civil society in the draft Joint Employment Report.
The ASGS also provides some clarity about the future of the European Semester, as well as what are the key steps and milestones to be expected for 2023. This year’s Semester will include the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility, that of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, and that of the Sustainable Development Goals.
ERGO Network will continue to advocate for a stronger focus on Roma rights and inclusion much more in focus in the delivery of these initiatives, and for stronger synergies between the European Semester and the EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion, and Participation.
For more information about ERGO Network’s work on EU social inclusion and employment policy (European Semester, European Pillar of Social Rights, Sustainable Development Goals etc), please contact Senior Policy Adviser Amana Ferro.