23/10/2015 – The Intergroup organized a special meeting to celebrate the world day, linked to the Global Day to eradicate poverty, to which EAPN participated. The key speaker was Mario Monti, followed by a panel debate, including the intergroup chair, Caritas Secretary General and ATD activists with direct experience of poverty. The session closed with the traditional Ceremony at the stone in the Parliament forecourt.
A Long Walk to Poverty Awareness
Mario Monti opened the meeting with a key note speech which reflected on the role of globalisation in the world and whether or not it is responsible for increasing poverty levels? There have been positive impacts thanks for globalised markets and the parallel developments of globalised governance means that public powers have been able to also organise themselves in parallel to provide global management solutions to global markets. The development of the European project has enabled many barriers to be removed and to stimulate growth, and through the Treaties public policies have been put in place to accompany this and to ensure that the market is not stunted by protectionism, nor that cartels can be formed to abuse a dominant position. Overall globalisation has helped to reduce the unequal distribution of wealth up to now, which has been positive. ‘Third world’ countries have been able to develop because of globalisation, which is positive, but in ‘developed countries’ there has been a growing gap between rich and poor, with the rich becoming very rich and the poor very poor, The development of the ‘third world’ means it is no longer possible for the ‘developed countries’ to use their imperialist policies to exploit them.
However it is not reasonable to blame European « austerity » measures for increased poverty in the EU. Imagine the state of poverty in the Member States if the EU did not exist: in the 1960/70s the public was indifferent to public debt and deficit, and there was no EU Commissioner telling Member States off for their excessive deficit and no public debate about the issue. Thus governments spent beyond their means, placing the debt onto the next generation, who now are often struggling to find work. Are these people victims of « austerity » or irresponsible budgetary policies in the past? Sound, sustainable fiscal consolidation demands a budget which is more or less balanced, over the course of the cycle, with the possibility to go beyond these limits if the investments being made clearly have the potential to create economic growth. This represents common sense.
Read more and access full report and presentations here on MEP Sylvie Goulard’s webpage .