EAPN took an active part in the conference “Our Social Europe – Strong Together” on 16 September 2020. This conference, organised by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs under their presidency of the Council of the European Union was an opportunity to discuss:
- How can we use social and employment policy but also economic and fiscal policy to bolster the upward convergence of living conditions in Europe and overcome the crisis?
- What are effective ways to promote inclusive growth and combat inequality and poverty in Europe?
Workshop on Minimum Income Schemes
Together with the Social Platform, Caritas Europa and Eurodiaconia, we held a workshop on “Adequate, accessible & enabling minimum income schemes across Europe – The time for action is now!”. But why this focus?
Europe is one of the most prosperous regions in the world. People living in the EU enjoy some of the best living and working conditions and the most comprehensive social protection systems. However, there is a different story behind this overall context. In 2018, more than 109 million people were living at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This amounts to approximately one in five people. Moreover, certain groups are disproportionately affected.
Adequate and guaranteed income plays a key role in reducing the extent and depth of poverty and social exclusion. Minimum income schemes are an integral part of a comprehensive, rights-based and universal social protection system. They play a key role when it comes to enabling people’s full participation in society and to ensuring a life in dignity over the entire course of their lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need for comprehensive social protection and coordinated EU action. This is why we call for an EU Framework Directive on Adequate Minimum Income to lay the foundation of a basic social safety net, while at the same time reducing poverty and inequalities by fostering upward social convergence within and across EU Member States and mitigating the immediate and long-term socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the workshop, participants heard from members of EAPN Latvia & Spain about the case in those countries (see speaking points below), and discussed key recommendations which have been put together by the workshop organisers in the booklet (below). EAPN Director Leo WIlliams presented the workshop’s key recommendations to ministers in the afternoon session Discussing Social Europe (see below).
Joining the debate
The conference from 13:00 with political decision-makers, social partners, academics and civil society, could be followed via livestream here. And follow (us) via #MinimumIncome #EU2020DE conference #MySocialEurope.
See EAPN’s summary position points on Minimum Income here.