The European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) has sent today an open Letter to Heads of State and Government and the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission, calling for maintaining the balanced strategic goal set for the EU in Lisbon: “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.
For EAPN, this setting of a balanced strategic goal and the identification of the need to respond to the reality of people facing poverty and social exclusion were a cause for great optimism and hope amongst thousands of organisations who represent millions of residents in the EU Member States. In its open letter, EAPN urges the Heads of State and Government to include the following messages in the conclusions of their Spring Council of March:
That despite progress achieved from putting in place the open method of coordination, the level of poverty and social exclusion within the EU remains unacceptable.
That the Open Method of Coordination in the field of Inclusion, including the requirement to produce periodically National Action Plans on Inclusion, should continue as a distinct and visible strategy.
That the links between the inclusion strategy and the EU employment and economic policies should be strengthened to allow the complete set of Lisbon objectives to be pursued in a consistent way.
That the balanced agenda agreed in Lisbon and enhanced by the addition of the environmental dimension at the Gothenburg Council in June 2001 should remain as the strategic direction for the EU.
That the proposal that Member States establish ‘national action programmes’ on the implementation of the Lisbon strategic goal and objectives should reflect all the dimensions of the Lisbon agenda including the social cohesion dimension and that these programmes should be devised with the participation of NGOs concerned with the fight against poverty, social exclusion and inequalities as well as the social partners.
“If the Council ignores the realities faced by the 68 million people in the EU, of twenty five member states, who live facing poverty and social exclusion, it will be difficult to convince the thousands of organisations and the millions of EU residents concerned that the objective to combat social exclusion stated in article three of the new EU Constitution is anything more than nice words”, concludes Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
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