EAPN and its members welcome the European Council’s conclusions and new Strategic Agenda as a signs of a potentially crucial shift, reflecting several EAPN’s concerns and key messages over the last years. First, the Strategic Agenda acknowledges the need to tackle social exclusion, poverty, unemployment and inequalities; Secondly, although EAPN deplores the focus on competitiveness, reference is made to create more and better jobs and to invest in education; Thirdly, reference is made to the importance of safety nets and social protection; Fourthly, EAPN welcomes the mention of the need to “guarantee fairness by tackling tax evasion and fraud, and to help ensure that safety nets are in place – to support change and reverse inequalities.
“Our members meeting in Tallinn at EAPN’s General Assembly welcomed the new Strategic Plan put forward by the Council, in particular the realization that a new balance must be struck between the economic and the social policies. We hope that this gives a sign that the Council will now take steps towards an EU framework directive on minimum income, but also stress that safety nets must be part of quality social protection systems ensuring universal access to public services and benefits for all. We also remind the Council that a genuinely ‘inclusive tax policy’ need to promote progressive tax systems which redistribute income and wealth if a significant impact on poverty and inequality is to be made,” said Sérgio Aires, President of EAPN.
In this context, EAPN’s General Assembly adopted its Final Declaration, addressed to newly elected MEPs. Recalling the achievements of the previous Parliament and thanking the over 80 MEPs who have taken EAPN pledge in support of EAPN’s Manifesto, EAPN members remind the new Parliament of the Mid-Term Review of the Europe 2020 Strategy – which so far has failed to progress on the poverty target as 6.6 more million people have fallen into poverty since 2010 – coming up in 2015, with a public consultation this year. Highlighting that this failure and consequent impact on poverty, exclusion and inequalities is due to European policies driven by austerity and neo-liberal macro-economic governance, EAPN’s General Assembly urged the new Members of the EP to support a Marshall Plan to support public investment: to create quality jobs, ensuring access to those excluded from the labour market and to invest in universal social protection and public services to tackle the spiralling poverty levels
“We congratulate the newly elected MEPs who have taken EAPN pledge and all those who will defend the elements of our final Declaration. The European Council’s shift seems like a step forward and we hope to say, soon, that EU leaders have understood what a strong EU means and needs: put people’s lives and well-being first”, added Sérgio Aires.
At its 2014 General Assembly, EAPN also formally welcomed 2 new members, EAPN Croatia and EAPN Latvia.
Notes for the editor:
- EAPN’s Final Declaration of its 2014 General Assembly
- EAPN sent a letter to the European Council as EAPN on the social dimension (26/06/2014)
- EAPN also sent an assessment of Semester along with a Press ReleaseSemester Alliance (25/06/2014).
- See here List of candidates who have taken EAPN’s pledge
EAPN’s 2 new members:
EAPN Croatia (Hrvatska mreža protiv siromaštva – Croatian Anti Poverty Network) was founded on 28/03/2014 by 5 non-governmental organisations: Pragma, Centre for Social Policy Initiatives, Croatian Red cross – Zagreb Branch, Katolička udruga “Kap dobrote”, Hrvatska mreža za beskućnike – Croatian Network of Homeless People.
The objectives of the CAPN are:
- Gathering and connecting legal entities and individuals interested in working to improve the care of vulnerable and socially excluded groups of citizens,
- Promoting the rights of vulnerable and socially excluded groups of citizens,
- Active, continuous and systematic joint action in order to establish a permanent forum for the advocacy of the rights of vulnerable and socially excluded groups of citizens and interests of legal entities who provide care to them.
Hrvatska mreža protiv siromaštva – Croatian Anti Poverty Network; Teslina 13, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia. email@example.com – Phone: +385 1 7789 950, 955
EAPN Latvia ( Latvijas PretNabadzības Tīkls) was founded on 09/10/2013 by 7 non-governmental organizations: Latvian Red Cross, Association “Skalbes”, International Women’s Organization, SOS Latvia – Association of Children’s Villages, Riga Alliance of Active Seniors, Latvian Association of Addiction Psychologists and Association “PINS”and currently has 16 member organisations.
The aim of the network: Working as a part of the European Anti-Poverty Network to work on a socially safe Latvia, free from poverty and social exclusion, and where economic, social and cultural rights are available for all.
For further information and interviews, contact Barbara Helfferich (Director), firstname.lastname@example.org (Tel. +32 2 226 58 50 – fax. +32 2 226 58 69) – or Nellie Epinat (Communications officer), email@example.com (Tel. +32 498 44 13 66).
The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroots groups as well as European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It was established in 1990.