The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) has sent a letter to the EU Heads of State and Government and to Commission President Barroso, expressing its concerns that having announced an informal summit on the European Social Model, the focus on Social Europe is now getting lost. “If this is the case, this is likely to have the impact of further alienating people concerned about Social Europe from the European Project”, states Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
“Social concerns are too often considered as antagonistic to economic constraints and ambitions, or are given too low a level of priority, in line with the assumption that economic challenges are to be addressed first, allowing social cohesion to derive from growth and competitiveness. This neo liberal vision is an inaccurate vision of reality, as well as a dangerous approach in the current context of lack of confidence and enthusiasm by EU residents in the EU project. It carries the risk of developing economic growth at the expense of poverty, social exclusion and inequalities, and it does not guarantee economic efficiency”, reads the EAPN letter.
According to EAPN, if there is no one model likely to apply to all of the EU Member States, the evolution of our societies should in no way be influenced by a short-term business-related vision, and depart from common values compounded over the years, that define the specificity of our vision of society. These values include respect for human dignity, justice and solidarity, equal access for all to fundamental rights, parliamentary and participatory democracy, allowing the participation of all to the building of society.
“A Social Europe needs a strong commitment by decision-makers at European level, and the political will to implement a balanced Lisbon agenda as well as a strengthened Social Protection and Social Inclusion Open Method of Coordination”, states Fintan Farrell. EAPN also urges EU Governments to contribute to developing a vision for a Social Europe in which economic and social policies would be placed on an equal footing, at all levels of governance all over the EU 25.
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For further information, please contact Vincent Forest (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