As the forthcoming European Council will give pride of place to discussions on the recovery packages and preparation for the EU 2020 Strategy, EAPN is also sending a letter to the European Prime Ministers to express its deep concern about the Commission’s working document and proposal for consultation on the future EU 2020 strategy.
For EAPN, it does not deliver on the promises made by President Barroso in his Political Guidelines for the new Commission.
Despite President Barroso’s Political Guidelines, neither the content nor the process of the Commission’s proposal on the future EU 2020 Strategy appear to deliver on a full stakeholder debate on the development of a new “social and sustainable” post-2010 agenda.
Moreover, the new proposals seem to represent a step backwards on commitments made by successive European Councils to strengthen the social dimension of this key EU strategy.
Even before the crisis, the “growth and jobs” strategy had not succeeded in reducing poverty and inequalities. As the Social Protection Committee highlights, despite the growth in overall living standards, “inequalities have often increased and poverty and social exclusion remain a major issue”. The Commission’s proposal makes no reference to defending social rights, despite the new status for the ‘Charter for Fundamental Rights’ in the new Lisbon Treaty.
In its letter, EAPN urges Prime Ministers and Heads of State to take action and ensure:
• an adequate debate and consultation process on the EU 2020 strategy, involving EU and national stakeholders, including NGOs and people experiencing poverty and social exclusion. In order for that debate to happen, EAPN proposes to delay the development of the Commission’s Communication until the Belgian Presidency.
• a strong social dimension in the EU 2020 vision, recognizing that growth alone cannot deliver better jobs or reduce poverty and social exclusion,
• the separation of the debate on short-term crisis recovery measures from the longer-term strategy for post 2010
The December Council will be the last Council meeting before 2010 – the start of the EU year for combating poverty and social exclusion. This will be a vital opportunity for Ministers to show that they are committed to a transforming social and sustainable vision for the EU for the next decade and to deliver on a new partnership with civil society which can reinforce the trust of people in a fairer, more socially just EU.
Please see attached:
• EAPN’s Letter to the 10-11 Dec. 2009 European Council
• EAPN’s position paper: An EU we can Trust
• EAPN’s report on the crisis: Social Cohesion at stake – The Social Impact of the Crisis and of the Recovery Package
For further information, contact Nellie Epinat (Communication & Press 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.eu