PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Austria

EAPN Austria has chosen to focus on access to housing as their topic for this year’s meeting. The delegation chose this topic because a home is important to get a job, for your health and hygiene, your dignity, energy, and stability. There are problems with the housing centers in Austria, where they will only provide rent assistance if you have already been evicted or lost your home. There’s no preventative aid. The delegation proposed a few solutions to address the housing crisis in Austria, including providing financial training at the housing centers, social protection for landlords, and a reduction of bureaucracy in the social services offices. Read quotes from the delegation here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Belgium

EAPN Belgium has chosen access to good quality health care services. EAPN Belgium has a working group, the Walloon Anti-Poverty Network, that meets on a monthly basis to discuss healthcare issues in Belgium. There are major problems with financial accessibility to healthcare in Belgium. There has been recent increases in the price of medicines, a restriction on reimbursement for physiotherapy, less accessible dental care, and many more barriers to health. The delegation from Belgium has many recommendations and solutions from people experiencing poverty, which you can see here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Czech Republic

EAPN Czech Republic focused on access to housing and the unavailability of social housing in the Czech Republic. The delegation came up with some solutions: consistent access to housing as the only way to stabilize a household, equal access to housing within the social housing system, sufficient funds for housing from the state, scattered social housing to combat the issue of segregation, and access to basic infrastructure (education, grocery stores, public transport) in areas with social housing.

See their meeting report with quotes from people experiencing poverty here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN France

The topic chosen by the French delegation was the participation of people experiencing poverty in their communities and countries. In France, participation is considered key to representing the voice of poverty in decision-making. There are barriers to the participation of people experiencing poverty in the political system, including lack of resources needed to organize and the difficulties that come with living paycheck-to-paycheck or having children to take care of. Political and social participation is the essence of changing policies. Read more about the French preparation meeting here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Germany

The German delegation chose the topics of access to housing and access to adequate health care. In Germany, there is a lack of affordable living space and very limited social housing. Quality healthcare is also difficult to access, as companies repeatedly do not cover the full cost of necessary medications and the government ignores statutory requirements that require people to be covered by health insurance. Read Germany’s report here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Greece

EAPN Greece chose to focus on access to housing. This topic was important to the delegation because after the economic crisis in Greece, social housing was extremely limited. Additionally, it was nearly impossible for refugees to find decent housing. The delegation defined housing as a basic need that should be provided to everyone. EAPN Greece also discussed access to decent jobs and equal employment opportunities for different categories of people. The economic crisis led to a 28% unemployment rate in Greece. The unemployment rate has decreased in 2019 to 18.5%, but the high levels still affect the most vulnerable populations like refugees and migrants. The Greek report contains stories from people experiencing poverty and their experiences with housing and employment. Read more here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Ireland 

Out of the five topics, EAPN Ireland focused on access to housing. They chose this because access to housing is a basic human right, and the lack of a home introduces insecurity, poverty, and reduced opportunities for both adults and children. Social housing in Ireland has been a long-supported policy, but it has been gradually whittled away over the past 20 years. Overcrowding has become an urgent issue because of the housing emergency, with a 28% rise in houses with more occupants than rooms (2016 Census data).

The massive failures in the delivery of social and affordable housing has impacted low income families, resulting in overcrowding, homelessness, social isolation and increased poverty as families struggle with homelessness, spiraling rents, mortgage debt and the impacts of living in sub-standard accommodation.

See the full report of their preparatory meeting on housing here

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Italy

EAPN Italy has chosen to focus on access to health care and the participation of people experiencing poverty in the lives of their communities and societies. The delegation chose these 2 priorities as they felt as those are the most relevant to their personal experience. At their meeting, everyone filled in post-its to answer the questions 1. What works? and 2. What doesn’t work? The goal was to produce at least 2 suggestions, notes, or recommendations which the delegation could take into consideration and support in discussions that will be held in Brussels.

Read the full report from EAPN Italy’s meeting here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Lithuania

The priority of EAPN Lithuania is access to decent jobs and employment opportunities for different categories of people. People in poverty who are out of work face not only financial problems, but undermined self-esteem, self-confidence, frustration, and a fear of returning to work. Age, lack of adequate public transportation, disability, and slow bureaucracy can also be barriers to quality employment. EAPN Lithuania has formulated some recommendations to address these issues, and you can read those here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Luxembourg

The two priorities that EAPN Luxembourg chose to discuss are access to housing and access to quality healthcare. Certain laws in Luxembourg make it difficult for people experiencing poverty to get access to housing, and social housing is ineffective for urgent cases. Healthcare in Luxembourg also remains inaccessible for people experiencing poverty as a result of unclear policies and a lack of information and assistance. Read the delegation’s recommendations to address these issues here (in French).

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Malta

The Maltese Anti-Poverty Network has chosen access to housing because it is challenging to rent or buy an apartment in Malta, due to high prices and inadequate income for low and medium-income earners. The low unemployment rate and high economic growth in Malta does not reflect the experience of people in poverty, as vulnerable groups become more dependent and excluded. The delegation proposed the expansion of shelters and solutions for people with no fixed address. Read more from the Maltese preparatory meeting here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Netherlands

EAPN Netherlands has chosen to focus on access to decent jobs and equal employment opportunities for all. Quality work improves the standard of living, the social network, and mental health of people experiencing poverty. The delegation also discussed the discrimination that people with disabilities still face when trying to get a job and how to combat that. The stigma around hiring people with disabilities prevents them from earning more than a minimum wage. Read the full recommendations and messages from people experiencing poverty in the Netherlands here and here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Norway

The Norwegian delegation chose access to housing as their priority for this year’s PeP meeting. Social exclusion and lack of housing go hand in hand and together they reinforce the consequences of living in poverty. The high prices in the housing market exclude people experiencing poverty from even thinking about buying a house, and the lack of a social housing policy implies that Norway’s poor are paying for the stability of the market. The delegation proposed stricter regulation of the rental market, increased access to buying a home, and special attention to housing for vulnerable groups as solutions to this issue. Read more about their preparatory meeting here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Poland

EAPN Poland has chosen access to adequate housing as their priority because of the bureaucratic difficulties that the poor have to face when getting an apartment. Having an apartment provides a sense of security, a chance for personal growth, a career, and a dignified life. When the market does not offer apartments that are affordable for those with low and average salaries, real people suffer. See the messages from people experiencing poverty in Poland and the recommendations from the delegation here and here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Portugal

The Portuguese delegation chose access to housing as a priority for the meeting because having a home is considered a “luxury” and requires a huge sacrifice. In Portugal, house rent is approximately the same as the minimum wage. More and more families have to choose between housing and other essential goods, like food. The delegation is calling for an affordable social housing system that ensures inclusive, energy-efficient and healthy housing across Europe. All people should have a home, regardless of income, gender, age, or nationality. Read the full report of their meeting here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Romania

EAPN Romania focused on the participation of people experiencing poverty in their communities and societies, with a special focus on the participation of young people. Read their draft report here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Slovakia

EAPN Slovakia had a meeting to discuss how to tackle poverty and in-work poverty, and what they can focus on at this years PeP meeting. On May 15th, 2019, EAPN Slovakia had a meeting with the Slovak candidates for the European Parliament where they discussed the PeP meetings and the five different priorities of this year’s meeting.

Their chosen topic is access to quality jobs and equal employment opportunities. See their meeting report here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN Spain

EAPN Spain chose two priorities, participation of people experiencing poverty in their communities and societies, and access to adequate housing. The stigma surrounding people experiencing poverty is that they need someone to speak for them, that they can’t have their own opinions or talk with stakeholders. That is completely false. Many people experiencing poverty have university degrees, have job experience, or can speak several languages. At the very least, people experiencing poverty can and should speak up for themselves and participate in their society. EAPN Spain puts that responsibility on politicians and officials to stop working for them and start working with them. Read their report on participation here, and their report on access to housing here.

PEP Preparation Meeting | EAPN UK

The UK delegation has chosen the priorities of access to adequate income and access to good quality healthcare. In-work and out-of-work benefits in the UK are very low and do not provide for a reasonable standard of living. A job is not a way out of poverty; in fact, some jobs like cleaning, retail, and hospitality keep people in poverty. A universal basic income could be an opportunity for the UK to learn from other models to see how that works in practice. It was noted that this minimum income has to include problems faced by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants with no recourse to public funds. Read the full report here.