“We strongly hope that Jean-Claude Juncker and the new Commission succeed where their predecessors have failed. We particularly welcome his recent statements that ‘we must work together to eradicate poverty once and for all from this planet*and his support for a minimum wage across Europe and minimum standards to fight poverty. This is a positive sign for EAPN, but the test will be in the delivery”. said Sérgio Aires, President of EAPN.
“The Mid-Term Review is the exact opportunity to reverse the trend of a blatant failure of the Europe 2020 Strategy and put into practice a commitment to ensure coherent targets and an effective EU strategy, including building EU social standards to fight poverty – for example progress on an EU framework directive on minimum income”, added Sérgio Aires.
The Europe 2020 Strategy aims to reduce the number of people in poverty by 20 million between 2010 and 2020. 5 years after the start of Europe 2020, poverty hasn’t diminished but risen by 6.6 million people, affecting (in 2012) 124, 2 million people in the EU, i.e. 1 in 4 people.
EAPN also welcomes President Juncker’s call for social impact assessments before austerity reforms as well as his statements about a social market economy being incompatible with “speculators becoming even richer, while pensioners can no longer support themselves”. However, success entails concrete measures. EAPN therefore hopes for President Juncker to take up the idea of a Marshall Plan, with appropriate funding, to create quality jobs, ensure access of those excluded from the labour market and to invest in universal social protection and public services to tackle the spiraling poverty levels guaranteeing people a life of dignity and free of poverty.
EAPN and its members cautiously welcomed the European Council’s conclusions in June and new Strategic Agenda as a potential positive shift, as it acknowledged the need to tackle rising social exclusion, poverty, unemployment and inequalities. “If Mr Juncker places people at the heart of the new strategic agenda, he could just be recognized as one of the architects of an inclusive recovery that goes some way to restoring hope in the EU,” added Sérgio Aires.
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.