Since leaving the Troika Bailout in late 2013, Ireland is now part of the Eurozone framework of monitoring review and correction called the European Semester.
There are two parallel processes within this framework:
Europe 2020 Strategy - which has goals for reducing poverty, improving employment rates, reducing early school leaving, increasing third level progression and reducing greenhouse gas emissions - and
Stability and Growth Pact - which covers fiscal and macroeconomic policies
The point of all this is to improve co-ordination, cohesion and stability across Eurozone Member States and to avoid national politics getting in the way of evidence based decision making - which SVP welcomes. We realise that engaging with Europe within this new process is vital if we want to get our message across to those who can influence our Government to undertake the much needed reforms and policy changes which could improve outcomes for low income households. We’re not just liaising with the Irish Government anymore – we also need to convince European Commission officials of the need to put people at the heart of policy. Our advocacy work is not just about deciding national budgets anymore - it's about offering solutions and recommendations, coming from our on the ground work through our 11,500 SVP volunteers, which will help Ireland achieve its Europe 2020 targets. We want our public service to be more flexible, equitable and transparent, designing and delivering coherent policies and programmes with clear outcomes.
Like other organisations, we are worried about the deep and growing disconnect between ordinary people and how EU member states are governed. Our policy and advocacy work will try to ensure that those most damaged by the austerity measures of recent years are protected from further cuts and erosion in services. We want to see living standards improved through the provision of better thought out policies and programmes. We have joined the Better Europe Alliance, a partnership of civil society, environment and trade union organisations which wants to influence how the EU operates. SVP contributes and lobbies proactively in this collective space to achieve a better deal for those in need. Many of the relevant publications and submissions in this area are via the Better Europe Alliance.