For EAPN, the verdict is clear. No progress has been made1. The failure to establish a coherent anti-poverty strategy, in a balanced social and economic Europe 2020 Strategy, was inevitable, as the EU and Member States remained riveted to austerity at any price, notably at the price of democracy, dangerously eroding.
No progress had been made – the situation is even worse: Not only do Member States fall short of the EU target by 8 million, but there has been an increase of over 2 million of people in poverty.
“It’s no secret that Europe 2020 is failing on poverty, as it’s still not a priority for the EU, despite all the rhetoric and the targets. Current policies are not working… even a shift back to the old recipes of growth and jobs, will not make a difference unless decent jobs with living wages are created, along with adequate minimum income and social protection and quality services and support to active inclusion”, said Sergio Aires, EAPN President. “The solution isn’t a secret either – a coherent, overarching EU anti-poverty strategy that prioritizes prevention through universal services and social protection. Most urgently, we need concrete action to stop austerity driving millions more into poverty, as people fall through vanishing safety nets with no jobs to go to”, he added.
The Convention will present initial proposals for a new Social Investment Package, to be adopted in February. However, it is still very unclear how far such a package will offer a coherent, long-term solution, or provide tangible gains for people in poverty worsening from increasing austerity.
Poverty also cannot be tackled without genuine and full democracy. The decline in stakeholder engagement and democratic accountability in Europe 2020, including people experiencing poverty themselves, is a major concern, as citizen’s trust in the EU plummets to an all-time low (only 31%2).
Fintan Farrell, EAPN Director declared: “The EU and Member States seem to have stopped listening. They know they’ve lost people’s trust, but they don’t change their practices or processes. People experiencing poverty and their associations have tried to engage with this Europe 2020 Strategy, and have been facing closed doors and deaf ears. This shows a lack of interest in democracy and participation, and a lack of respect for the people who are suffering the consequences of failed, market-driven economic model.”
EAPN’s 3 Key Messages:
- An EU integrated anti-poverty strategy at the heartthe Europe 2020 strategy
- Democratic accountability + meaningful dialogue with national stakeholders, including people experiencing poverty
- A Coherent Social Investment Package focused on public investment in prevention, developed through adequate consultation
- EAPN’s Key Messages to the Annual Convention 2012
- EAPN Report: An EU worth defending – beyond austerity to social investment and inclusive growth: EAPN analysis of the 2012 National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and National Social Reports (NSRs).
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For further information, contact Fintan Farrell (Director) firstname.lastname@example.org, Sian Jones (Policy Coordinator), email@example.com or Nellie Epinat (Communications officer) firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +32 (0)2 226 58 50.
1. (Based on EAPN’s 2012 assessment of Europe 2020’s National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and National Social Reports (NSRs) 2012)
2. Eurobarometer Report Spring 2012