From the Delors White Paper (1993) to the EU Pillar of Social Rights (2016), what future for the fight against poverty
EAPN’s response – building on 25 years combating poverty, inequality and exclusion
EAPN held its conference on 16 June 2016 to provide a concrete and timely input to the key European Commission consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights. EAPN provided its experience and insights into how such a Pillar could complement or build on the existing strategies such as: Europe 2020 and the European Semester and the Social OMC.
The potential of the Pillar of Social Rights was reflected upon, and links to the future role of the EU in the fight against poverty and social exclusion explored.
On March 8 2016, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights. This was announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in September 2015, and is part of a greater initiative to strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), and, implicitly, its social dimension, by ensuring upward social convergence between Member States.
The initiative is targeted at the Eurozone, aimed at strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union, but other Member States can join if they want to. The reasoning is the strong economic interdependence in the Euro area. The legal nature of the Pillar is to be defined, as it will involve a number of different tools of a diverse nature, according to the content, subsidiarity principle, and overall legal EU framework.
Commitments in the consultation on the Pillar of Social Rights, come under three headings:
- equal opportunities and access to the labour market: skills, active labour market policies, improving employability, supporting transitions;
- fair working conditions: achieving balance between flexibility and security, facilitate job creation, promote social dialogue;
- adequate and sustainable social protection and access to high-quality essential services: childcare, healthcare, long-term care, to ensure dignified living and enable professional and social participation
Participants: Around 70 EAPN members participated from the national level, including people with direct experience of poverty, plus some European Organisation members of EAPN, and around 80 Brussels-based stakeholders.
A Video tribute to activists by Genevieve Baert with messages from the 2015 EU Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty, opened the conference
Prior to the conference, EAPN members reflected on the potentiality of the Pillar of Social Rights. 5 members made presentations to frame the reflections:
- Building on EAPN’s past experience – by Sergio Aires, EAPN President
- Trends and priorities within current emoployment and welfare systems and economies – by Paul Ginnell, EAPN Ireland
- Trends, risks and opportunities – by Alexander Kraake, EAPN Germany
- How can we guarantee that the Pillar addresses the social emergency in Europe? – by Elke Vandermeerschen, EAPN Belgium
- Policy domains and addressing poverty – by Marija Babovic, EAPN Serbia
after EAPN Policy Coordinator Sian Jones had introduced the Pillar at the beginning.
See a snapshot of tweets & pictures of the day!
The programme can be accessed here (PDF).
Key external speakers
- Allan Larsson, Special Adviser for the European Pillar of Social Rights
- Maria João Rodrigues, MEP S&D Group Vice-President in charge of Economics & Social Policies (rapporteur of Parliament report on the Social Pillar)
- Stefan Olsson, Director Employment, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Commission
And speakers from the European Parliament; other civil society actors, and people with direct experience of poverty.
Key related documents
- Conference report
- Overall webpage of the initiative
- Communication on Launching the Consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights
- – Annex: A European Pillar of Social Rights – First preliminary outline
- – Staff Working Document: Key economic, employment and social trends behind a European Pillar of Social Rights
- – Staff Working Document: The EU social acquis
- The public consultation, including the questionnaire
- – Press release
- – Questions & Answers
- – Factsheet – European Pillar of Social Rights
Contact the Acting Director Mr Fintan Farrell for information on the event’s programme and the issue: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: © Rebecca Lee, EAPN
This event is supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020). The information contained does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission. For further information please consult: http://ec.europa.eu/social/easi.