In its response to the Commission Communication ‘Working together, working better: A new framework for the open coordination of social protection and inclusion policies in the European Union’, EAPN re-states that the continuing scandal of widespread poverty in a rich society, such as the EU, is intolerable. Europe must move substantially towards the agreed EU goal “to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010”. The Poor cannot wait…
EAPN key demands
- A clear political statement by the Spring Council restating the commitment to a balanced Lisbon Strategy including a strong and focused social pillar based on the re-launched OMC on Social Protection and Social inclusion. This should be accompanied by a re statement of the commitment to make a decisive impact of the eradication of poverty by 2010.
- High level national meetings with all stakeholder organised by the Commission to create political momentum around the re-launch of the strategy.
- A clarification of the revised objectives proposed by the Commission to ensure continuity with the Nice objectives (see appendix to this document on detailed comments on the Communication).
- The re statement of the ambition to address the needs of all people experiencing poverty and social exclusion in our societies while at the same time tackling forms of extreme poverty.
- Commitment that ‘feeding in’ is not interpreted as reducing the OMC on Social Inclusion and Social Protection to its contribution to the Growth and Jobs objectives, and that ‘feeding out’ will ensure that the Growth and Jobs strategy contributes to the social cohesion objective.
- An informal process to provide guidance and momentum for the revised OMC process, to start now with the meeting announced by the Commission for those responsible for the drafting of strategies, in particular the National Action Plans on Inclusion 2006 – 2008, and involving other concerned actors.
- A formal guidance note including further elaborated Social Protection and Social inclusion objectives, recommendation that National strategies should still address all social policies and broadly all national policies that impact on poverty and social exclusion, and clear indication on the content and process of feeding in/feeding out.
- The future National Action Plans on Inclusion must build on the key policy priorities which are identified in the Joint Reports reflecting the lessons learned from the process to date and which were endorsed at the EPSCO Council of March 2005
- In order to support the participation of all actors concerned, the new regulations of the Structural Funds must allow funds to support the National Strategies for Social Inclusion and Social Protection, PROGRESS programme must be sufficiently funded, and Member States should establish Stakeholder Forums and allocate financial resources to facilitate the participation in the process.
- A specific proposal should be worked out at EU level in order to develop efficiently further action of the Union in favour of social cohesion from 2010 on, building on the results of the OMC and the Lisbon strategy, and launched during the 2010 EU year of combating poverty and social exclusion.