This report concerns the Implementation and update Reports prepared by Member States on the National Action Plans on Social Inclusion 2003-2005 (NAPs inclusion). It assesses the added value of these NAPs inclusion Reports and of the overall NAPs inclusion process for combating poverty and social exclusion.
Common recommendations from the EAPN national networks
Making a decisive impact on poverty requires an inclusive society
- Anti–poverty strategies must be based on implementing universal social rights.
- Addressing the distribution of wealth is an essential role of government in an inclusive – and successful – society.
- There must be a decisive effort to combat poverty myths and media distortion and demonisation of the weak and poor.
Participation is essential to human dignity and to a functioning democracy
- Tools and programmes to make participation of people experiencing poverty a reality are needed.
- National governments must draw up indicators for participation and use them.
- Train ‘experiential experts’ and use them as mediators between people experiencing poverty and government.
- Make the plans more accessible and more comprehensible to the general public.
- Step up regional and local involvement.
- There must be realistic financial resources to implement the process.
NAPs Inclusion must be national Plans, not social Ministry projects.
- Especially in relation to links to economic processes and indicators of exclusion. “The NAPs Inclusion process has not been able to thwart (these) unequalising, impoverishing and excluding mechanisms. It demands a stronger inclusion strategy, in particular on a higher political level.” (Danish network).
- The NAPs should be a state national planning tool – not a government policy that changes when the government changes.
- All new laws and measures should be subject to poverty and exclusion impact assessment including assessment of the combined impact of policies.
There is added value in the European level of the process but it needs strengthening
- For all Member States and particularly for the new Member States it is essential that the NAP inclusion fits into a larger European process.
- Peer review of the good practice examples is valuable. But this kind of peer review does not address system-level problems.
- To put some political drive into the process there is a need to make the recommendations coming from the NAPs Inclusion process binding, and for these to also inform and shape the revised Lisbon strategy and the National reform programmes on which the strategy is based.
- There needs to be more focus on following up output from the policy learning.
- It is unclear in what way streamlining is helping good governance in the NAPs Inclusion process and it may be the reverse. This needs to be debated and clarity obtained. The NAPs Inclusion process should not be led by administrative convenience.
- Instead of reforming the commonly agreed Objectives for social inclusion there is a need to deliver them. A reinforced EU Inclusions strategy based on NAPs Inclusion is an essential part of ensuring such a delivery.
- Council and the Commission should look at delivery and strengthen the means to deliver on combating poverty. Additional methods must include legislation.