10/12 – the EESC opinion on minimum income and poverty indicators, an own initiative report (SOC/482) promoted by Mr Dassis (Workers Group II/Greece) with co-rapporteur Mr Boland (Various interests – GR III/Ireland was approved in the plenary session. EAPN has been actively involved in providing input to the opinion, in two hearings and by written input, with EAPN Ireland providing specific input to the co-rapporteur. The opinion was presented by the EESC in the EMIN event in Paris on 09/10. The opinion includes a call for ‘’a European framework directive that would extend minimum income schemes to all Member States, improve the adequacy of existing schemes, taking into account national contexts’.. the proposed directive should ‘ set common standards and indicators’ and to examine the funding possibilities for a European Minimum Income in particular setting up an appropriate European Fund“. It builds on the demand made by Committee of the Regions opinion on the European Platform Against Poverty, based on input from EAPN.
15/01/2014 – Paul Ginnell, from EAPN Ireland and co-chair of the European Inclusion Strategies Group of EAPN, represented EAPN at the EU Peer Review of the Belgian Platform Against Poverty and Social Exclusion EU2020 which took place on 14-15 January. He also drafted EAPN’s Comments Paper on the Peer Review, with the support of Elke Vandermeerschen, from BAPN (EAPN Belgium) and Sian Jones, Policy Coordinator for EAPN Europe. At the Peer Review, EAPN was represented by Paul Ginnell and BAPN by Anatole Kontsybovslyï, Crina Costache, Dabiel Ausloos, Daniël Meuleman, Elke Vandermeerschen, Ludo Horemans and Stephan Backes.
27/11/2013 – Sérgio Aires thanked President van Rompuy for making time available for the meeting, which involved 4 other members of EAPN. He introduced EAPN as a European-wide coalition of NGOs, founded in 1989 with the support of the Commission, and with the major objective to contribute to the fight against poverty. The EC and the EU recognized that good governance included the participation of civil society; it was recognized that without that fundamental participation it would be very difficult to implement the European Project. He added that with the creation of EAPN in 1989, there was recognition that EAPN was a major network.
27/11/2013 – On the occasion of the European Convention against Poverty, EAPN President Sérgio Aires met with President Barroso. Sérgio underlined the need for an integrated European Anti-Poverty Strategy stating that if finances and economy are EU businesses, poverty was also one – particularly when current economic choices contributed to it. He also proposed to launch a process, both at European and national level assuring an enlarged participation of stakeholders, particularly those facing themselves poverty and social exclusion, to develop such a EU integrated strategy to fight poverty. This, he said, would be the positive sign of political commitment we would like to see. President Barroso, whose speech at the Convention acknowledged the fact that the poverty target was way out of reach, responded outlining the structural and political difficulties to require member states to deliver on social targets.
WORKING AND POOR: EAPN launches position paper on in-work poverty at the Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion
In-work poverty means that some people are still experiencing poverty, despite holding a job. From 2010 to 2013, EAPN has closely monitored and mapped the situation in Member States, as well as the effect of different policy options towards solving the situation, or making it worse. The position paper aims to set out EAPN’s developing analysis of the issue of in-work poverty, and to contribute to the debate, highlighting the different situations across Europe, including the role of low pay, the structure and increased segmentation of the labour market, the role of benefit and taxation policies, and individual characteristics. Building on the extensive work done by EAPN members, key concerns are outlined, and the impact of various policies in different countries discussed, including the negative impact of the economic crisis and austerity measures. The paper brings the stories of the people themselves into the spotlight, and makes a plea for participation and democracy, as the foundation for formulating concrete proposals and ways forward on how to effectively combat in-work poverty. The role of the EU in fighting this growing phenomenon is clearly underlined.
The Third Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, one of the Flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, took place on 26-27 November 2013 in Brussels. Over 50 EAPN national members participated, as well as European Organisations members of EAPN. As in previous years, EAPN spoke in a number of settings during the Convention. EAPN was also active in workshops and side events.
20/11/2013 – EAPN together with other social/health NGOs (EPHA, Age-Platform, Eurodiaconia, Social Platform and Caritas Europa ) took joint action on the EP Resolution on the Social Dimension of the EMU to be voted on in plenary tomorrow, 21st November. The letter calls for support to amendment 10 proposing that economic and social indicators are put on an equal footing, in order to support coherent EU policy approach and rejection of amendment 9 which would limit the engagement of stakeholders to only social partners, excluding civil society. Social NGOs hope for a strong resolution that can help to press for an effective implementation of this new Commission attempt to strengthen the Social Pillar in the EMU.
Brussels, 22 November 2013 – From 18 till 20 June, on the Esplanade in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, EAPN held the 12th Meeting of People experiencing poverty on “What we can learn from the experiences of poverty today”. Gathering delegations of people experiencing poverty and activists from all the EU countries, this meeting was also an significant event in the calendar of the 2013 European Year of the Citizen. The reports are now available.
Brussels, 18/11/2013 – During the meeting, Commissioner Andor reconfirmed his commitment to such EU-level meetings of people experiencing poverty. He pointed out that systematic involvement of people experiencing poverty in decision-making at national and European levels leads to more effective social measures, and added that such meetings “send a clear and important message that we want Europe to be inclusive.” Regarding timing,
- No progress on the posting of workers directive. Still no agreement on this important Directive that would try to ensure a basic package of social rights to workers posted abroad within the internal market.
- Youth Guarantee: there was a review of progress, and a request to all MS to work quickly to spend the 6 million allocated including through ESF underspend.
- Declaration of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships launched in July.
- First debate on the Commission’s Communication on the Social Dimension of the EMU – cautious welcome, underlining the importance of coherence of fiscal, economic and social policies, with a first step in the establishment of the social scoreboard and new social indicators in the MIP, Alter procedure. However the Council rejected any automatic trigger of Recommendations if thresholds were breached. A further discussion will take place in the December Council.
- Evaluation of the 2013 European Semester (including NRPs and CSRs). Concerns still about the short timescale, and confirming the need to involve social partners, and to confirm the key role of the EPSCO in any discussions/ recommendations which have an impact on employment or social policy.