How has the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) translated into concrete actions to benefit those living in the EU? Has it achieved a strong social Europe that is fair, inclusive and full of opportunities? Where are the gaps and opportunities?
EAPN Portugal and EAPN Europe hosted a People’s Summit in Porto, bringing together people experiencing poverty (PeP), our national members, political stakeholders and grass-roots organisations. Through a series of workshops and plenaries, we addressed the structural barriers and explored solutions for a meaningful EPSR Action Plan in the next Commission mandate.
It was an opportune moment to influence the agenda of the second edition of the Porto Social Forum by pointing out key subjects that need to be discussed and generate political commitment for an ambitious EU anti-poverty strategy in the next Commission mandate. EAPN Europe and EAPN Portugal are at the Porto Social Forum on 26 May 2023 to launch the conference report with recommendations for a meaningful Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan. See:
The members present at the Summit would like to highlight the following key messages:
- It is necessary to define and implement a European Strategy to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion that addresses the structural causes of poverty, includes preventive measures and promotes the human rights of all people.
- It is necessary to invest in social support and monitoring, with preventive measures, and a holistic vision of intervention in the areas of well-being, with less bureaucracy and closer to the people, aiming at their integral development.
- The European Pillar of Social Rights should be reinforced by binding documents, such as a Framework Directive on Minimum Income and a Directive on the Protection of Universal Public Services.
- Tax justice is an essential tool for redistributing wealth, reducing inequalities and for financing sustainable welfare states.
- Access to adequate income measures (minimum income and minimum wages) are essential to guarantee access to a decent life and to essential goods and services.
- The fight against poverty will only be effective if governance mechanisms include meaningful participation of people experiencing poverty, in all its diversity, both at the policy design stage as well as in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages.
- The promotion of digital access must be accompanied by physical, accessible, affordable and quality essential services available to all.
View the intervention of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier de Schutter
The People’s Summit was held ahead of the Porto Social Summit. The EPSR Action Plan has already led to positive results in terms of social policy at the national level. It led to the creation of the Portuguese Anti-Poverty Strategy which we will use as a good practice for the development of an EU strategy and reflect on the existence of mechanisms to guarantee participative processes for citizens and civil society organisations.
Despite the current limitations of the EPSR Action Plan due to the relentless multiple crises, EAPN is still convinced that it remains a tool with great potential and a crucial role to play in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The EPSR Action Plan must address, in an integrated way, the structural causes and the multidimensions of poverty by effectively guaranteeing the right and access to adequate and enabling minimum income, social protection and affordable public services.
People experiencing poverty are the most suited to evaluate the policies related to it. The impact of the high costs of energy, food and housing affects millions of Europeans. During this People’s Summit, PeP showcased not only their expertise and capacity for resilience and community-building, but also provided an opportunity for policymakers to meaningfully involve them in order to design more impactful and adequate social inclusion policies that reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis and the energy crisis.
An opportunity to create a true culture of participation for people experiencing poverty, and for the civil society entities that work directly with them.