“The pressure made by Social NGOs, including EAPN, in advance of the Spring Council has shown some positive results which are reflected in the conclusions which were issued today”. This is the view of Fintan Farrell, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN). Mr Farrell added that the President of the Council, Mr Juncker, is to be congratulated for achieving agreement that the Lisbon strategy remains focused on the three dimensions, economic, social and environmental and that social cohesion remains part of the overall objective of the Lisbon strategy. EAPN particularly welcomes the commitment made in the conclusions to pursue a European Union Social Inclusion strategy based on a multi dimensional approach.
However in welcoming the general conclusions of the Council, Mr Farrell stated that “the section in the conclusions dealing with improved governance of the Lisbon strategy leaves many questions unanswered in relation to how the European Union leaders will ensure an adequate focus on meeting the social cohesion objective”.
If the positive messages in the conclusions have any real meaning then EAPN expects that, in the coming months, there will be a more detailed development of the EU Social Agenda and that, in particular, a proposal will be made to strengthen the Open Method of Coordination in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. “Without such concrete actions to follow from the Spring Council conclusions the result will be increased disillusionment with the EU project”, concluded Mr Farrell.