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This position paper was presented on the occasion of the Third European Round Table on Poverty and Social Exclusion, Rotterdam, 18-19 October 2004
EAPN believes that the fight against poverty and social exclusion must continue to be given high priority in decision-making at national and European level if the eradication of poverty in the European Union is to become a visible trend over the coming years.
In the current context of strong emphasis on economic growth and competitiveness all stakeholders, at all levels, must ensure that their commitment to achieving reduced levels of poverty in the EU by 2010 results in effective measures which actually reduce numbers and seriously improve the quality of life of the 68 million people experiencing poverty in the EU today.
The Open Method of coordination (OMC) on poverty and social exclusion launched after the Lisbon Summit introduced as one of its strands a Social Exclusion Action Programme, funding actions to improve knowledge and understanding, networking, exchange on issues of poverty and social exclusion.
The importance of the Programme to date in supporting and promoting the remaining strands of the OMC, namely the National Action Plans on social inclusion and the common objectives in the fight against poverty and exclusion, must be acknowledged. Moreover, the Programme, through the activities it supports, aims to raise awareness of the gravity of the problem in the EU, as well as of the actions that are being developed to help address this most pressing concern.
EAPN welcomes the proposal as a step towards guaranteeing a future to the learning gained to date through the OMC.