Brussels, 4 March 2010 – EAPN cautiously welcomes the Commission’s proposals for the first explicit target to reduce poverty and inequality in the EU, as an interim target to eradicating poverty and social exclusion in the EU but is surprised that no recognition is made of the failure the “current growth and jobs” to deliver on poverty, exclusion and inequality and the lack of concrete proposals on how a poverty and inequality target will be delivered at EU and national level.
“After failing to deliver on its commitment to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty and social exclusion since 2000, it was vital that the EU made progress on eradication as a priority. So we’re pleased to see a relative poverty target proposed, which tackles inequality of income – even if it is still rather un-ambitious – only 25%. What will matter now is how this is transferred to national level, with different national targets and sub-targets to ensure that not only people closest to the poverty line are helped – particularly tackling homelessness and child poverty, what specific policies are put in place and how stakeholders are involved in delivery and monitoring through the Social OMC and the other Strategy processes. We want to see people in poverty and their organisations at the heart of this strategy – if it’s to have a chance of success “,said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
For EAPN the “Flagship initiative – the so-called “Platform against poverty” is very ambiguous and too tentative. This needs to be transformed into an Action Plan or Roadmap against Poverty and Inequality which sets out clear steps and actions at EU and national level, based on the Active Inclusion Recommendation already endorsed by the EPSCO and the European Parliament and giving a clear message about the key role of social protection systems in preventing as well as tackling poverty.
“Delivery on poverty targets can only happen with an agreed EU approach – here the EU must show ambition for a social and sustainable Europe that puts people first. The Social OMC has developed an relevant Active Inclusion strategy – which provides 3 necessary pillars to tackle social exclusion and poverty – firstly, ensuring an adequate minimum income for a dignified life – as a social right and strong foundation for the society and the economy, secondly – guaranteeing access to affordable public services – particularly social services like a decent home, access to health and childcare and thirdly, positive active measures including education and training which should support people currently excluded from the labour market into decent jobs. For EAPN, a commitment to progress on a framework directive on adequate minimum income as part of strong social protection systems which sets an income at least at the poverty threshold would give the EU a head start on delivering on such a target”.
EAPN will be preparing a more detailed response with its members prior to the Spring Council.
- European Commission Communication on the 2020 Strategy
- EAPN key demands for 2010 European Year Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
- Key demands of the NGO Coalition of Social NGOs for the European Year 2010
- EAPN’s position paper “An EU we can trust”