On the occasion of the fifth European Round Table on Poverty and Social Exclusion to be held in Tampere on 16-17 October 2006, the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) will be sharing with EU and Government officials its initial reflections on the recent publication of the new ‘streamlined’ Reports for 2006-2008 under the Open method of coordination on social protection and social inclusion (OMC), the EU’s driving mechanism in meeting its objective to reduce poverty and social exclusion by 2010.
“Six years after the launch of this process, we stand at a crossroads, looking back on past commitments and achievements, facing the ambitions and expected goals ahead and nevertheless confronted with the daily reality that officially 72 million people in the EU are still facing the burden of poverty and social exclusion, with little evidence of significant improvements in this situation” reminds Fintan Farrell, Director of the European Anti Poverty Network.
“EAPN acknowledges that the OMC supported by the Social Exclusion programme, has encouraged coordination, mutual exchange, awareness raising and prioritizing of issues of poverty and social exclusion across the European Union Member States, as well as in acceding countries. Nonetheless, . It is essential that the European Commission, the Member States and the Council, in particular the Social Protection Committee (SPC) and its individual members, demonstrate the political drive of such a process and ensure that it truly shifts towards providing a political input to the overall agenda of the EU and its Member States.”
EAPN calls on the European Union to fundamentally re-think its economic and social policy, ensuring that all policies, including economic policies work for social inclusion. Specific recommendations on the National Action Plans on social inclusion include:
More measures, resources and clear targets. EAPN members feels that the plans are “relevant, but not sufficient”;
Making reference to overall policies which have a particularly strong impact on the lives of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion. Minimum income, income adequacy, broader measures to promote active inclusion based on empowerment and access and quality of services are some such issues, which EAPN feels need to be better addressed through the OMC.
EAPN calls for a clearer and more participative approach to ‘joined-up’ government on issues of social protection and social inclusion, and for better mainstreaming of poverty and social exclusion issues in the health and pensions fields, and in policies across the board.
In the run-up to 2010 – when the EU will be assessing its achievements in terms of the commitment made in Lisbon in 2000 to ‘make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010’ and when the first European Year Against Poverty will be held, EAPN invites decision makers to consider whether this method is sufficient or whether it is a starting point towards a more binding process at EU level.
For further information, please contact Audrey Gueudet (Information officer) or Fintan Farrell (Director), tel. +32 2 230 44 55 – fax. +32 2 230 97 33 – E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: www.eapn.org