EAPN Conference on the demand of a EU directive on Minimum Income (Brussels):
- Having as background the working paper “Framework Directive on Minimum Income”, this Conference was quite an important moment for EAPN. The main arguments raised were:
- An adequate minimum income for a dignified life is a fundamental right and a prerequisite for eradicating poverty and social exclusion.
- In contradiction with a Recommendation adopted by the Council in 1992, most of existing Minimum Income schemes do not ensure an adequate income for all. In some countries there is even no national minimum income scheme.
- EAPN believes that for making progress on Minimum Income, the Social Open Method of Coordination has to be complemented by a EU instrument that will bind Member States.
- EAPN thinks that adopting a EU Framework Directive on Minimum Income is not only needed, but also possible and feasible.
- These arguments were discussed during the conference entitled “Laying the foundation for a fairer Europe, Ensuring an Adequate Minimum Income for all” organized by EAPN and the Belgian Anti‐Poverty Network on the 24th September. The outcomes of the discussions were integrated in a final version of the working paper published and presented in the autumn.
9th European Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty:
“People want more participation in what affects the everyday life” Organised by the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, with the support of the European Commission and of the European Anti-Poverty Network, the 9th European Meeting of People experiencing poverty took place at the European Parliament on 25 June and at the European Commission the next day.
22nd GA – Limassol (Cyprus):
“EU Year 2010: Building a Europe for All.”
Europe 2020 was a 10-year strategy proposed by the European Commission on 3 March 2010 for advancement of the economy of the European Union. It aims at “smart, sustainable, inclusive growth” with greater coordination of national and European policy. It follows the Lisbon Strategy for the period 2000–2010. The strategy identified five headline targets the European Union should take to boost growth and employment. Originated from the Germany Digital Agenda in 2009 led by Henrik von Scheel for the Federal Minister of Economy & Technology and evolved in 2013 into Industry 4.0.
- To raise the employment rate of the population aged 20–64 from the current 69% to at least 75%.
- To achieve the target of investing 3% of GDP in R&D in particular by improving the conditions for R&D investment by the private sector, and develop a new indicator to track innovation.
- To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels or by 30% if the conditions are right, increase the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20%, and achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency – 20-20-20 target.
- To reduce the share of early school leavers to 10% from the current 15% and increase the share of the population aged 30–34 having completed tertiary from 31% to at least 40%.
- To reduce the number of Europeans living below national poverty lines by 25%, lifting 20 million people out of poverty.
Amongst seven flagship initiatives,one seemed to be an important improvement for EAPN and other stakeholders: the “European platform against poverty: to ensure social and territorial cohesion such that the benefits of growth and jobs are widely shared and people experiencing poverty and social exclusion are enabled to live in dignity and take an active part in society”. The Horizon 2020 framework programme, with its 80 billion euro budget for the years 2014–2020, was one of the implementing tools of the Europe 2020 strategy. Together with the 31 National Networks and 18 European Organisations in membership of EAPN, the organisation engaged closely with this Strategy, in the framework of the European Semester, by both lobbying national and EU policy members to achieve impact, as well as by actively monitoring the processes and policies put forward in this framework, from a poverty perspective.
European Year for combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
Inspired by its founding principle of solidarity, the European Union joined forces with its Member States to make 2010 the European Year For Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. The objectives were to raise public awareness about these issues and renew the political commitment of the EU and its Member States to combat poverty and social exclusion. The year also challenged stereotypes and collective perceptions of poverty. Civil society organisations and social partners joined participating countries and the European Commission to run activities throughout 2010. Two European-level conferences took take place in January and December; an art initiative built a bridge between people experiencing poverty and social exclusion and the creative world; while a journalist competition rewarded the best articles about poverty and social exclusion in Europe. National and local events took place in every EU member state, plus Norway and Iceland. Activities included awareness raising campaigns, workshops and information seminars in schools. Films, magazines and other information material were produced across participating countries to help people understand how poverty and social exclusion affect their communities, what initiatives there are to fight it, and for those directly affected, to increase awareness of their rights. Along with public figures, people who have experienced poverty acted as campaign ambassadors, which raised visibility and credibility for the Year’s activities. The European Year legacy seemed to be at that time quite relevant: Europe 2020 Strategy, Poverty Reduction Target and Platform Against Poverty. It is important to know that the preparation for the declaration of 2010 as European Year against poverty started in the 2nd Semester of 2004, during the Dutch Presidency of the EU. Recognising that the Lisbon Strategy was totally at stake and that there was a possibility to arrive to 2010 without any following up, EAPN and its leaders approached the Dutch Presidency, and during the Round Table in Rotterdam /17-19 October 2004) they reached successfully to convince the Presidency to declare 2010 as the year against poverty. In a certain way it paved the way to force the institutions, namely the EC to have something concrete on this subject within a new strategy for the period 2010-2020.