EAPN presented its key messages, calling on EU leaders to face the real causes of the crisis and build a real, coherent and strong social investment package, and an integrated EU strategy to fight poverty, restoring what has been broken: the social dimension in all policies, democratic accountability and a meaningful dialogue with civil society. Solutions exist, and are a matter of political will.
“If we have to accept a fiscal compact we also absolutely need to have a social compact. We need a “Golden Rule” to protect our social protection systems and to ensure the delivery of the compromises agreed by the Council. We haven’t reached this critical situation by chance. It was a choice! And it was the kind of growth (unequal growth and wealth distribution) we chose that led us to this situation. Our governments must become more honest about the real causes of this crisis and the enormous rise in poverty” said Sergio Aires, President of EAPN, in his closing speech.
“We don’t fight poverty only with charity or emergency measures. We want to see the situation being improved for all and not only for 20 million people. And absolutely not only for the so called “new poor” but also for the pre-existent 85 million people living in poverty before the crisis. We need an integrated EU strategy to fight poverty, that includes thematic strategies on Homelessness, Roma minorities, child poverty, the elderly, the gender dimension of poverty and an effective active-inclusion approach on employment”, he added.
Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN, and Sergio Aires, President of EAPN, both strongly called on EU leaders to take concrete measures for a coherent Social Investment Package and an EU strategy and participative process to fight poverty, amongst which: to have the courage to regulate financial markets and put an end to tax heavens, invest in adequate social protection, quality services and jobs – stopping the cuts on salaries, pensions, public services and social protection, stop the privatization of public services and goods, especially vital ones such as water and energy, implement fiscal justice to restore a more equal distribution of income and wealth, take a positive stand on Structural Funds so that they truly contribute to reducing poverty.
They also highlighted the necessity to restore the dialogue with national stakeholders, particularly with people experiencing poverty and their associations. As Fintan Farrell said, “At least since 2007, there has been little or no distinct national stakeholder process and we have gradually lost the rights-based approach”.
“Political credibility is crucial, particularly in a moment when a large part of the EU Citizens has lost trust in any form of democratic political power. Please take this message seriously and recognise that there is a very strong risk of breaking social cohesion completely and of opening the doors to the worst scenario: the growing of hate and political populism which can lead us all to an abysm experimented already in our History – not so many years ago” also said Sergio Aires. “Fighting poverty now is not only ensuring a better life for an large part of the EU citizens living in the worst conditions; fighting poverty now is safeguarding Democracy and Freedom”, he concluded.
- Speech by Sergio Aires, President of APN
- Presentation by Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN
- Presentation by Letizia Cesarini Forza, Director of EAPN Italy and Vice-President of EAPN, workshop on gender
- Presentation by Dr Bernadette MacMahon, EAPN Ireland and Director of Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, in the workshop on Active Inclusion (available shortly on EAPN’s website)
- EAPN’s Key Messages to the Annual Convention 2012 and related press release EU is failing both on Poverty and Democracy (3rd December 2012)
- Official page of the Annual Convention
- Final report
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