3 Key Issues in the negotiations:
1) The proposed EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived: President Barroso made a strong defense of this proposal saying: “quite frankly, how do you explain to the people of Europe that when there are summits in Brussels to find hundreds of billions of euro to save the banks we reach an agreement, but when it comes to a few million to help the poor the negative voices outnumber the positive ones? What are they (people in Europe) to make of that?” EAPN welcomes this strong defense of this crucial programme, even if it is clear that the amount proposed will be insufficient to cover the growing needs. EAPN hopes that the appeal of President Barroso will receive a positive response from Prime
Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN added, “This is not an entirely new programme and it is a revised version of the former ‘food aid programme’ which was supported from the EU Agriculture budget. As well as securing Member-State support for the programme, the key issue now is: Where will the money come from for the new programme? If it is taken from the future European Social Fund, without a corresponding increase in funds for that programme to cover these costs, then in net financial terms this will be a step backwards in overall EU funds to support the fight against poverty and social exclusion”.
2) The Cohesion Funds and the future of the European Social Fund: While the new EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived’ is crucial, it is a small financial programme compared to what is proposed for the Cohesion Funds. EAPN therefore welcomes that the new proposal, put on the table during the Special Summit by President Van Rompuy, is in favour of an increase in the Cohesion Funds from that tabled prior to theFor EAPN, this is a step in the right direction, however we are very concerned that the General Affairs Council (held on the eve of the Special Summit) undermines the proposals for a strong European Social Fund.
Sergio Aires, President of EAPN said, “It is hoped that, before the next summit, further progress will be made in achieving a decent level of funding for the Cohesion Budget. If the increase in Cohesion funds is really to meet the needs of people, then Prime Ministers will need to agree a strong European Social Fund as the only fund that invests in people rather than infrastructures. The minimum that is acceptable in this regard, is the proposed Minimum Shares of 25% of the Cohesion Fund for the European Social Fund (ESF) and the ring fencing of at least 20% of the ESF for the fight against poverty and social exclusion, as proposed by the European Commission”.
EAPN calls on the European Parliament and the Commission to remain strong on this proposal for a strong ESF, in their negotiations with the Council. Social NGOs will continue their campaign ‘EU Money for Poverty Reduction Now’ (see http://www.eapn.eu/eu-money-for-poverty-reduction-now) to exert pressure on the next Budget Summit.
3) Austerity approach must end: While reaching agreement on an adequate future budget for the EU is essential, EAPN reiterates that the potential positive impact of any future investment from European Structural Funds will be totally swamped if EU leaders continue with the disastrous policy know as ‘austerity’.
For further Information see:
- Social NGOs’ joint letter to the General Affairs Council representatives.
- Social NGOs campaign’s petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/EU_Money_for_Poverty_Reduction_NOW_1/
- Webpage EU Money for Poverty Reduction NOW! Campaign: http://www.eapn.eu/eu-money-for-poverty-reduction-now
- EAPN interviews MEP E. Morin-Chartier, Rapporteur in the European Parliament: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h1wp-7rcJo&feature=em-share_video_user
For further information, contact Fintan Farrell (Director) firstname.lastname@example.org or Vincent Caron (Policy officer) email@example.com. Tel. +32 2 226 58 50 – fax. +32 2 226 58 69 – website: www.eapn.eu.