The conference was opened by President Martin Schulz (video included in this report) and closed by Commissioner Marianne Thyssen. A series of other oustanding speakers also participated, and whose quotes and speech syntheses you can find in this valuable and concise report, along with links to presentations:
- Pavel Trantina, President of SOC Section/EESC
- Sérgio Aires, EAPN President
- Derek Holliday, Poverty Alliance/EAPN UK : Experience from the ground of welfare reform
- Tanya Cox, Beyond 2015 Steering Group Co-chair: From Europe 2020 to Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
- Paul Ginnell/EAPN Ireland and Chair of EAPN EU Inclusion Strategies Group: Presentation of EAPN 2015 NRP and European Semester Assessment
- Tom Dominique, Chair of the Social Protection Committee
- Outi Slotboom, European Commission DG ECFIN
- Graciela Malgesini, EAPN Spain: Promising practice: Structured dialogue with NGOs
- Johanna László, EAPN Hungary: Raising awareness on the Semester
- Raquel Lucas, Cabinet of Commissioner Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue: Getting ownership, strengthening social and civil dialogue
- Marco Cilento, Advisor, ETUC: How to increase accountability and legitimacy of the European Semester
The report gives exhaustive evidence that reducing poverty and promoting effective participation must be put at the heart of the European Semester, if the EU is to respect its Europe 2020 commitments regarding poverty and participation and restore the social dimension of the EU.
EAPN’s Assessment of the 2015 NRPs and European Semester notably highlights that
- 88% of the National Reform Programmes in the EU do not have poverty as a main priority and only foster employment with increased conditionality as the main solution.
- 76% said that austerity is still the main focus generating more poverty and social exclusion
- 65% said the NRPs focused on macroeconomic and financial management not Europe 2020 goals and targets.
- Although 47% of anti-poverty networks were consulted in some form, 76% said that their input was not taken seriously.
Following the debate with the audience and speakers, strong support was given to the 3 main messages:
- Ensure macroeconomic policies deliver on social objectives
- Demonstrate a strong social dimension: an integrated anti-poverty strategy and investment in social standards
- Get serious about participation and NGO involvement