With the upcoming Porto Social Summit, EAPN welcomes the intention to reinforce the commitment from Member States, European institutions, Social Partners and Civil Society to the implementation of the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights (AP/EPSR). Nevertheless, EAPN must demand more ambition to face the challenges that lay ahead.
The Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights
EAPN published its first reaction to the European Commission’s presentation of the AP/EPSR, which is expected to deliver on the promise that the unique European Social and Economic Model can bring shared prosperity and opportunities for all.
EAPN fully supports the EC in making effective use of these tools and using the revised Social Scoreboard for monitoring progress on social rights. But we continue to question whether the set of targets and objectives will effectively deliver on the promise and expectations of the EU’s citizens, who view the lack of social rights as a serious problem (71%), and perceive a Social Europe to be important to them personally (88%).
For EAPN, the Sustainable Development Goal 1 target would have been a more fitting demonstration of the commitment of EU institutions and national governments to improve the lives of the 91 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion and to the 22.2% of children living in poor households in the EU27 (2019).
EAPN strongly urges governments to increase the ambition on the poverty reduction target, and welcomes the efforts of Members States that are working on much-needed national anti-poverty strategies, which will be essential to consistently integrate the initiatives of the AP/EPSR.
EAPN regrets that the Action Plan does not include a Framework Directive on Minimum Income, which we view as legally feasible and within EU competencies in the social and cohesion policy fields, whilst respecting principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and protecting national competencies. A Framework Directive would have demonstrated EU commitment to the promise embedded in the AP/EPSR principle 14. In addition, EAPN expects the alternative Council Recommendation in 2022 to contribute in updating the EU framework on Minimum Income to effectively support and complement the social protection policies of Members States.
In implementing the Action Plan, EAPN encourages Member States to organise and strengthen coordination mechanisms to allow for meaningful engagement and participation of all – civil society organisations, social partners, and citizens, especially people at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Participation of People Experiencing Poverty
On May 3, EAPN organised three sessions with People experiencing Poverty in EAPN’s national networks in France, Belgium, Spain and Italy and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter. The participants had the opportunity to hear how the contributions given in December 2020 were used in his mission, provide additional information regarding the current implementation of MIS, and exchange on the necessary conditions for the implementation of the Child Guarantee at national level.
Faced with an overwhelming pandemic and an uncertain recovery, the EU and Member States must transform this crisis into an opportunity to rethink their social and economic model , stressing the former over the latter. It is the opportune moment to demonstrate to all EU citizens that they are at the center of the recovery by effectively addressing the structural causes of poverty through the AP/EPSR, the Green Deal, and the Recovery and Resilience Plans.