The fourth edition of SFM once again dealt with salient issues in contemporary Europe. There were four working groups working on four different topics. During the conference, participants had the possiblity to share their thoughts and ideas on one of these topics, in order to bundle them up in policy recommendations for the European Commission. Have a look at the topics presented below, and find out what SFM 2016 was all about!
Towards a Harmonization of European Health Policies
Health constitutes a central element in people´s lives. Although Europe has some of the best health policies and systems in the world, considerable differences remain in place between the various Member States, affecting the lives of millions of European citizens and residents. Historically, equal access to a high-quality, affordable healthcare system has been one of the basic objectives of the European welfare model. How can the EU collaborate in increasing the harmonization of the different health policies in the Union in order to guarantee high-quality, cost-efficient healthcare to all its inhabitants?
Common European Foreign Policy: Coordinating Humanitarian and Development Aid
The European Union strives to become a global power. Yet, when it comes to several areas of foreign policy, Member States do not coordinate their actions. A more cohesive and integrated common policy concerning humanitarian and development aid could not only significantly increase the efficiency of Europe’s foreign undertakings, but also boost the Union’s influence and image abroad as a strong unitary actor in international politics. Hence, would working towards a common foreign policy be the next step in the Union’s development?
EU- Union of and for Citizens
Many see the European Union as a project of elites. More than 60 years of European integration have not yet created a European demos. The low voter turnout in the EP elections is merely one of the many symptoms of the estrangement of citizens with the Union. Does the EU have to fundamentally change to become a Union of and for the citizens? What should tomorrow’s EU look like?
Furthering Gender Equality in the Labour Market
Although equality between men and women is one of the EU’s founding principles, the objective of a gender-equal Europe has yet to be achieved. Inequalities still exist and, among other areas, manifest themselves in the labour market. The gender pay gap remains, women are under-represented in senior positions and a framework allowing women to balance career and family obligations is still lacking. What can be done to tackle such problems and to further gender equality in the labour market?