In a letter sent to the College of Commissioners ahead of its meeting on 30 April dedicated to the EU social policy agenda, the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) urges the Commission to deliver a dynamic social agenda responding to the social realities, such as the fact that 78 million people live in poverty in the EU, amongst whom 19 million are in employment.
“The vision for a renewed social agenda as presented in the Commission’s Communication in November 2007 is wholly inadequate to meet the expectations of those concerned about the future of social Europe”, declared Ludo Horemans, the President of EAPN. “Indeed the commitment to solidarity as expressed in the Communication seems to be a token end-thought for the inevitable “losers” in a competitive world rather than a vision to underpin the priority that the EU should give to protecting and developing the European Social Model/s.”
For EAPN, at the heart of the renewed social agenda must be the ambition to achieve an upward convergence on social standards through a greater cooperation – rather than competition – on social objectives, between Member States.
EAPN, together with other members of Social Platform, believes that the ambition to have a social Europe requires a shift from the present dominant paradigm of “Growth and Jobs” in favour of a paradigm based on “Social and sustainable development”, which is consistent with the values and objectives of the EU Treaties.
“While welcoming the recognition by the Commission of the need for all policies to contribute achieving social objectives, EAPN warns that there must be the clear intention to achieve this result and not the intention to subject social objectives to competition and internal market objectives”, said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN. “It needs to be clear that there is a need for a distinct social pillar.”
For EAPN, this distinct social pillar should ensure a high profile and politically endorsed strategy for the protection and development of the European Social Model/s/. It should be based on a political declaration on the need to eradicate poverty, a strengthened Open Method of Coordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion as well as the enforcement of the existing and the development of new legislation to guarantee quality employment, social minimum standards, anti discrimination and equality objectives and the predominance of universal service obligations in developing services of general interest.
For further information, please contact Audrey Gueudet (Information Officer) or Fintan Farrell (Director), tel. +32 2 226 58 50 – fax. +32 2 226 58 69 – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: www.eapn.org