This position paper was presented on the occasion of the Third European Round Table on Poverty and Social Exclusion which took place in Rotterdam on 18-19 October 2004.
This seminar gathered more than 60 people active in organisations representing the interests of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion from all over the European Union. Their discussions reinforced the conclusions of the EAPN preparatory report based of the analysis of their National Action Plan Employment by 7 national networks and in particular the followings points:
- There is no balance in the way that the three objectives of the EES – “Reflecting the Lisbon agenda, the employment policies of Member States shall foster the three interrelated and overarching objectives of full employment, quality and productivity at work, and social cohesion and inclusion” (Council decision of 22 July 2003 2003/578/EC) – are implemented, and the predominance of competitiveness objectives is to the detriment of the other objectives.
- The implementation of guideline 7 (“promote the integration of and combat the discrimination against people at a disadvantage in the labour market”) is too weak to the extend that it fails to make employment a tool for social inclusion
- Employment measures aiming at supporting inclusion through employment are not adequately funded
- Furthermore, some national employment policies contribute to creating poverty and social exclusion. This is particularly the case of ‘Make work pay’ approach and the implementation of activation policies that result in stigmatisation, benefits being cut and people being forced to take employment which worsens their actual situation.
- The growing number of working poor is the striking sign of the failure of employment policies to work for inclusion.
- Regarding the drafting, the implementation and the evaluation of the employment strategy, organisations representing the interests of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion are for the most not involved.