Through the EAPN Services Group, in 2007/8 we have taken action on the following areas:
1) Monitoring the impact of the Services Directive on people experiencing poverty
EAPN has developed an EAPN explainer and a Glossary on the Services Directive, explaining the specific relevant of the Services Directive and analysing the likely impact on EAPN members and people experiencing poverty. Networks will be asked to actively monitor the implementation and to provide feedback on specific cases.
2) Lobbying for greater legal certainty, a stronger EU framework on Services and Social Services
EAPN has been active in the Social Platform campaign and in hearings with the Commission, Parliament and the EESC, highlighting the needs of users. EAPN has produced an EAPN response and letter to the College of Commissioners (November 2007) to the new proposals on Services of General Interest and communication on a strategy Social Services which was timed with the publishing of the Internal Market Review in November, and continue to lobby with the Social Platform as part of the Services Working Party for change.
In 2008, the 7th Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty, organized together with the Slovenian Presidency focused on Services of General Interest and Social Services as well as Housing as 3 of its key themes. The Conclusions pressed for urgent action to defend universal service obligations and to create a stronger legal framework to defend basic services.
3) Highlighting the impact of liberalization on people experiencing poverty – Energy Poverty!
EAPN’s national members have emphasized the worrying trends of rising cost of energy, as well as increasing fuel poverty in the EU. Most networks primarily blame the impact of privatization and liberalization.
EAPN has campaigned with the public sector union – EPSU, to highlight these concerns in relation to the new Energy Package and has responded to the Commission’s consultation over a European Charter for Energy Consumer’s Rights– See EAPN joint letter to Parliament, EAPN Respose to Energy Charter.
In the first part of 2008 EAPN worked actively with the Rapporteur from the European Parliament ( Eluned Morgan) to develop proposals on Energy Poverty and better consumer rights, as part of the report on the Regulation of the Internal Market in Electricity. We have also campaigned actively together with CECODHAS and EPSU on these issues
In July, EAPN produced a special edition of its magazine; Network News, on energy poverty.
In September 2008, EAPN, CECODHAS and AGE have been lobbying in support of a Parliament Declaration on Energy poverty.
4) Working together with the Social Platform, for more and better governance, giving priority to users
The people affected by these vital decisions must have more say. The EU is fast losing credibility, which can only be challenged if it invests in better governance. This means ensuring genuine on-going structured dialogue and participative monitoring and evaluation processes and impact assessment.
EAPN is pressing with the Social Platform for more transparent and effective governance, involving all stakeholders in the development and implementation of EU policy in this vital area.
EAPN Actions in 2007/8:
- EAPN participated in the hearing organized by the DG Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN) of the European Commission on the horizontal evaluation of SGI ( network services) and has participated in follow up meetings with the social platform to press for improved governance.
- EAPN has participated in hearings with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the development of SGI and the Internal Market and the need to improve governance.
5. Promoting the need for guaranteed access to quality, affordable social services
As part of the proposals on Active inclusion ( see other section), the Commission is making proposals to support the delivery of quality of social services, through agreed principles. EAPN is concerned that affordability and access for people experiencing poverty remain at the heart of these proposals, as well as the commitment to ensure active participation of user’s in the development and delivery of services.
EAPN Actions in 2007/8:
- In 2008, EAPN has contributed to the Social Platform’s proposal on quality social services.
• EAPN made specific proposals on quality social services in its Principles on Active Inclusion.
- Building from the reports presented by people experiencing poverty in the 7th Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty, EAPN is developing a report to highlight their key concerns and experience on the ground.