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What can we learn from the experiences of Poverty Today? #PEP2013
18-20 June 2013 – Esplanade in front of the European Parliament, Brussels – See final programme here
From 18 – 20 June the 12th ‘European Meeting of People experiencing poverty’ will be held on the Esplanade in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. This 12th meeting gathers national delegations of people/activists experiencing poverty from 28 European Countries.
WHY BE THERE?
The situation with regards to poverty is at breaking point in many European countries. From the preparation work for the 12th European meeting we hear stories of people in Bulgaria who have publicly set themselves on fire this past year protesting against the situation and the lack of a future, increased levels of suicide and depressive diseases in Portugal, increased unemployment among youth in Sweden contributing to the riots there. We also hear how in some countries social protection systems work to share the risks that any of us might have to face in our lives, but we also hear how these systems are being undermined as they are increasingly presented as a cost rather than a protection for our societies.
On the other hand we have the ‘Europe 2020’ commitment to reduce poverty by at least 20 million and we have the recent Commission Social Investment Package which attempts to make an EU response to the current realities.
The tension between the realities lived and the efforts to make an official response will be at the heart of the exchanges at the 12th European Meeting. “What the Expert knows, people in poverty feel” said Pirjo Lindgren, Finnish delegate for this years meeting. “These real life stories need to be heard and responded to, if we are to restore the trust in our democracies” said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
WHEN TO BE THERE?
We would very much welcome journalists to be present:
- at the Opening of the event, on Tuesday 18th June (17:00-19:00) or
- at its Closing on Thursday 20th June (9.30-11:00) followed by a symbolic action at 1pm
M. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament will officially open the 12th European meeting.
At these times it will also be possible to meet with and exchange with the delegates from the different countries.
CONTACT: Press and Media, Nellie Epinat, EAPN’s communications officer firstname.lastname@example.org – Tel: +32 (0) 498 44 13 66 – Follow event on Twitter: #PEP2013
The European Meetings of People experiencing poverty
The European Meetings of People experiencing Poverty have played a major role in driving the development of the direct participation of people experiencing poverty. The European meeting is a key visible moment in this process but as essential is that it acts as a catalyst for national process and meetings of people experiencing poverty.
The European Meetings have been well documented and positively evaluated for their impact on the delegates and the guests who attend.
The meetings have contributed to keeping poverty and social exclusion visible in the European agenda and they have contributed to some key areas of policy development such as adequacy of minimum income, child poverty, housing and homelessness, indebtedness, the links between discrimination and poverty (particularly the realities for Roma community), and the impact of liberalization on public services and the EU poverty reduction target. In addition, the meetings provide a ‘barometer’ in relation to social and economic developments in Europe. The processes associated to this meeting assist in the journey from ‘people experiencing poverty’ to ‘activists with direct experience of poverty’ and past participants are now playing key roles in anti-poverty organisations.
The meetings were developed as EU Presidency events and were conceptualized as a major part of the Social OMC, responding to the agreed objective ‘to ensure the direct participation of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion’.
However, the reality in the last years is that the national stakeholder processes associated to the Social OMC have diminished and it has been difficult in most countries for people experiencing poverty and their organisations to access the processes associated to the Europe 2020 Strategy.
In addition, fiscal consolidation and austerity approaches means that the reality for people experiencing poverty is worsening and the numbers in poverty are growing. All this has lead to a growing sense that the format for the European meetings needed to change.
The 2013 Meeting
The 2013 meeting will be organized by EAPN with support from the European Commission. The meeting is an event associated to the Irish Presidency of the EU. The meeting will be held in a temporarily constructed Conference Centre on the Esplanade directly in front of the European Parliament. Support for the use of the Esplanade has been received from the European Parliament’s Committee for Employment and Social Affairs. This year’s meeting will have a less formal format and will have more elements of cultural and solidarity exchange. The meeting is seen as a milestone event in the calendar of the 2013 European Year of the Citizen.
However the meeting remains a meeting of people experiencing povertywhere they directly ‘take the floor’ and the desire to interact with politicians and Institutional actors remains a key part of the event.
It is crucial that the meetings continue to be seen as major part of the EU Inclusion Strategy and contributes to the Social OMC and the Europe 2020 Flagship initiative ’Platform against Poverty’ and the recent Commissions Communication on the Social Investment Package.
Objectives for the 2013 Meeting
- To reinforce the visibility of the fight against poverty and social exclusion in Europe
- To recognise the courage, commitment and expertise that people experiencing poverty bring to the fight against poverty and to foster commitment to developing the participation of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion.
- To make visible the links between the different levels; local, national and European and the need for coherence between the different levels.
Content of the exchanges at the 2013 Meeting
The recent Commission Communication ‘Towards social Investment for Growth and Jobs’ which was released as part of its Social Investment package calls on members states to fully implement the Recommendation on Active Inclusion (2008) integrating its three pillars, adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and enabling services.
The Communication commits the Commission to develop in 2013 a common methodology for reference budgets as part of the monitoring of adequacy of income supports.
The exchanges at the 2013 meeting will contribute to this objective by
1) exchanging on what should be part of an essential basket of goods and services to be used in reference budgets,
2) exchanging on what are the current developments for individuals and communities in terms of the three pillars of the Active Inclusion Recommendation: accessible adequate income schemes, inclusive services and supportive paths to employment.
3) Exchanging on practices that people experiencing poverty and their organisations are developing to fight poverty and exclusion and what is helping and hindering the implementation of these practices
- Les photos de l’événement 2013 seront disponibles sur: https://picasaweb.google.com/EAPNpictures2/12thEUMeetingOfPeopleExperiencingPovertyPhotosRebeccaLeeEAPN?authuser=0&feat=directlink
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Press et Media, Nellie Epinat, Chargée de communication chez EAPN Nellie.email@example.com
+32(0) 2 226 58 50 – Mobile: +32 (0) 498 44 13 66
Pour suivre l’événement sur Twitter: #PEP2013