The proposal from the Commission includes a target to reduce the numbers of people living below the relative poverty measure (60% of the median income) by 25%. This target, as one of the five key targets for the EU for the next 10 years, should ensure a high priority for addressing the needs of all people experiencing poverty and social exclusion in the EU and lift at least 20 million people above the relative poverty line. The application of the relative poverty measure will also address the damaging impact of the growing levels of inequalities in our societies. While a large number of Member States appear to support this target, EAPN is concerned that a minority of Member States might block this potentially historic step forward in EU cooperation to fight poverty and social exclusion.
“For EAPN, the Commission’s proposed relative poverty target is a vital sign of the EU´s commitment to ensure that the ‘Europe 2020 strategy’ delivers a better Europe for all” said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN. “If the poverty target is rejected, this will be a severe blow for the credibility of the EU and send a signal that the EU is not ready to respond to the call of citizens for a more social Europe”, added Mr Farrell.
The Commission’s proposal of a ‘Headline target’ will need to be complemented by a set of national targets, agreed between Member States and the Commission, which are based on a rigorous assessment of the social and economic reality in each country and which build on previous commitments made in areas such as Active Inclusion, child poverty and homelessness. Action Plans setting clear policy priorities to drive delivery on the targets will be needed. A revitalised Open Method of Coordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion building dynamic partnerships, involving civil society at the European, national, regional and local levels will be essential to ensure a real follow up of these commitments.
“The headline target should ensure high-level political attention to poverty and social exclusion but will not by itself deliver progress”, said Ludo Horemans, President of EAPN. “How Member States translate this into national targets and policies that address the needs of all people facing poverty and social exclusion will be essential. That requires getting all relevant stakeholders involved – including people experiencing poverty and anti-poverty NGOs – and ensuring a real involvement and ownership of the Europe 2020 strategy”, added Mr Horemans.