EAPN, represented by delegates from 11 EU countries, plus Norway & Serbia, attended the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2017 (#ACIG2017) on 24 April, and put forward 4 Key Messages (see below).
The Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth 2017 took place on the 24th April in Brussels with the participation of over 400 stakeholders from the national and EU level. The Convention however gave a reduced focus to the overall themes of inclusive growth, or in monitoring progress on poverty and social exclusion, although it still exists in the reference framework, with a priority given this year to youth inclusion.
The timing – 2 days before the launch of the European Pillar of Social Rights package also seemed a missed opportunity to debate with stakeholders the implications of the package and support its implementation. As a result, it was not always clear on the objectives, or how the Convention could lead to policy impact.
Strong statements of support were given from the EU institutions for the need for a more balanced EU – with economic and social justice on a par, and concrete actions linked to the pillar in the area of employment rights, access to social protection and work-life balance. The main focus of the Convention was on ways to challenge youth inclusion: support was given to ensuring access to minimum income and social protection, quality employment and services, including housing and health with strong priority to tailored, accompanying support at the local level. The importance of social and political participation of young people, children and their families became a recurring theme. The format involved plenary and workshop debate with inputs from the Commission and the Council, young people in poverty, young MEPs, academics and some input from NGOs, particularly in the workshops. The side events offered an important opportunity for more grass-roots expertise and examples driven by NGOs and other stakeholders including EAPN’s own workshop on ensuring access to adequate income for young people (minimum income and minimum wages).
The conference was closed by a panel discussion then concluding remarks from Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President, Euro and Social Dialogue highlighting the need for more Social Europe and more inclusive growth.
“We must put social progress and economic growth on an equal footing. Europe is one of the most equal, but we can do more. Economic growth and employment is the best way, but a job is not always a guarantee of income security. We have 9.5% of working poor. We must push harder to make growth more inclusive. We have been pushing active inclusion, modernizing social protection systems and addressing inclusive labour markets. But it must have income support and access to quality social services”.
- See here for a full resumé of the Convention, including key quotes and feedback from the workshops
EAPN’s participation in the Annual Convention
EAPN’s 4 Key Messages to the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2017, under the following titles:
- Annual Convention must champion progress on poverty and inequality!
- The European Pillar of Social Rights must be more than principles!
- Youth inclusion means rights-based integrated solutions, not just employment!
- Participation is a pre-requisite to empowerment, ownership, and accessing other rights!
EAPN welcomed the decision to focus this year’s Convention on youth inclusion, rather than just youth employment. However, not all youth face the same risks. It is vital to empower and support youth facing multiple risks, through personalized, integrated solutions to adequate income support, quality services and quality jobs. With over 118.7 million people (2015) at risk of poverty and social exclusion and increasing inequality, the EU cannot afford to be complacent.
The Annual Convention must be a key instrument to drive real progress on reducing poverty and inequality, working together with stakeholders and people in poverty to forge effective solutions. The participation of young people, and all groups facing poverty, is crucial! – not only to ‘hear their voices’, but to empower people to defend their rights and be active contributors to effective policy solutions.
EAPN’s participation in workshops
ADDRESSING SOCIAL INCLUSION CHALLENGES OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN URBAN AREAS
Sara Ferraioli from EAPN Italy spoke in this workshop (4).
- See here for a full description of the workshop.
INVESTING IN CHILDREN AND BREAKING THE CYCLE OF DISADVANTAGE: PAVING THE WAY TO A BETTER FUTURE
Sophie Schwab from EAPN Germany spoke in this workshop (2).
INTERGENERATIONAL FAIRNESS AND COMBATTING YOUTH POVERTY: MAKING THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL MODEL WORK FOR EVERYONE TODAY AND TOMORROW
Graciela Malgesini from EAPN Spain was rapporteur in this workshop.
- See here for a full description of the workshop (3).
EAPN’s participation in side-events
This side event was organised by EAPN, the European Youth Forum, EQUINET – European Network of Equality Bodies, and ETUC Youth, looking at the discriminations that young people face in accessing adequate income (minimum wage, minimum income and other forms of social protection) and the impact on poverty and social exclusion, quality labour market integration, as well as its role in limiting participation, access to rights and overall quality of life. Chaired by Zuzana Vaněčková (European Youth Forum), it examined in-built age-based restrictions, such as concerning eligibility or adequacy, in a number of countries in what regards both minimum wage provisions as well as social protection such as minimum income schemes. The event formulated positive policy proposals on how to ensure income adequacy for youth, in light of the continuing shortfall on the Europe 2020 poverty target and upcoming initiatives like the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Paul Ginnell (EAPN Ireland) and Heiki Viisimaa (EAPN Estonia) spoke about young people and access to Minimum Income schemes.
- See Heiki Viisimaa’s presentation here (EAPN Estonia)
- See Paul Ginnell’s presentation here (EAPN Ireland)
- See Jessica Machacova’s presentation here (Equinet)
- See Ignacio Doreste’s presentation here (ETUC)
- Access the Key Messages of the event here.
See some photos below (c) Amana Ferro for EAPN / (c) socialeurope
For more information about this side-event, or about EAPN’s work on youth, please contact Amana Ferro in the EAPN Europe staff team.
EAPN Key Documents
- EAPN Position Paper: Last Chance for Social Europe: on the European Pillar of Social Rights;
- Report of the 2016 EU Meeting of people experiencing poverty;
- Position Paper on Youth Poverty & Social Exclusion.
The proceedings of the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth will be available on the Convention website (Related Documents).
The Convention on social media: #ACIG2017
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