The European meetings contribute to the right of people living in poverty to participate in and access information relating to the decision-making processes that affect their lives and well-being. The European meeting is the most visible point in the process of fostering this but perhaps even more important is the fact that they act as a catalyst for national participation processes.

  • The short name for these meetings is PeP.
  • The European PeP Meetings are organised by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with support of the European Commission.
  • EAPN also identifies National Coordinators to assist with the preparation of delegations and the follow up of the PeP Meetings.
  • The country holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament are often associated to the organisation of the Meetings.
  • In addition, other anti-poverty NGOs assist with the organisation of the Meetings.
  • Leo Williams is the coordinator of the PeP Meeting (leo.williams@eapn.eu).

What are the European Meetings of People experiencing Poverty?

The European meetings of people experiencing poverty are annual gatherings of delegations of people with direct experiencing poverty coming from EU and EFTA countries who meet to exchange, on policies that are impacting on their daily lives, with each other and guests coming from National and EU Institutions, Social Partners, Social NGOs, Academics and other relevant actors

The European Meetings contribute to the stated EU goal (in the Social OMC, Europe 2020, Declaration of the 2010 EU Year to combat Poverty, Social Investment Package) to foster the participation of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion.

Objectives of the European Meetings of PeP

  • To empower the delegates in their journey from People experiencing Poverty to Activists with direct experience of poverty engaged in their communities and organisations.
  • To strengthen the participation of people experiencing poverty in Anti-Poverty NGOs and relevant policy making processes at local, national and EU levels.
  • To facilitate exchange and learning and to stimulate further exchanges and joint projects.
  • Reality Check: On the similarities and differences in different countries and for Guests to check the reality of their approaches to fight poverty against the experience on the ground and to adjust their policies and actions as necessary
  • To strengthen the participation of people experiencing poverty in relevant EU processes

Who are the European Meetings of PeP for?

Delegates

  • People experiencing poverty who are starting to connect to anti-poverty organisations and are interested to engage in policy making processes
  • Some previous delegates to help with continuity

Guests

  • Rep of National and EU level Institutions (Political and Functionaries)
  • Rep of NGOs, Social Partners, Academics and other relevant actors

General Public

  • Some elements of the meeting are open to the General Public. The meeting can be followed on this blog-space, twitter and facebook.

In the late 1990s, EAPN along with other social NGOs pressed the European institutions for an anti-poverty policy that really delivers. This intensive lobbying resulted in the implementation of the European Social Inclusion Strategy decided on at the Nice Summit in 2000.

We set great store by Objective 4 of that strategy, subsequently the EU Lisbon Strategy (and restated in the European Platform against Poverty) which calls for all relevant bodies to be mobilised, especially people experiencing poverty. Since then, much has been done to get the words reflected in actions.

The first European Meeting of people experiencing poverty was held in 2001 under the Belgian presidency of the EU at the instigation of the Belgian government. Some members of EAPN were involved.

Over time, these meetings have turned into an EU Presidency/European Commission initiative, a development of major political significance. The meetings have gradually risen up the European authorities and Member States’ agendas, and are now seen as a big policy event where the expertise of people experiencing poverty can be leveraged … an achievement that we have to build up and develop further in the years ahead.


 

poverty452013: the 12th meeting on “What we can learn from the experiences of poverty today” took place on the Esplanade in front of the European Parliament in Brussels from 18 to 20 June. With a less formal format, the event had more elements of solidarity building and cultural exchange. The meeting was seen as an significant event in the calendar of the 2013 European Year of the Citizen. The closing of the event was public and was followed by a symbolic action outside the Esplanade. The 12th Meeting was organised by the European Anti-Poverty Network, with support from the European Commission and in association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

Read more and access the Reports of the Meeting here.


 red-card-moment2012: The 11th European Meeting of people experiencing poverty took place in Brussels on 10 & 11 May 2012 on the topic of “Homelessness and Housing Rights in the Context of the Crisis”. This year’s meeting was focused on three key questions: in relation to homelessness and housing rights what are the key differences that can be seen in 2012 as compared to 2008?; from the experience of the delegates and the preparation work for the meeting what are the ‘good and bad practices’ in relation to addressing homelessness and housing rights that have been identified?; How best to design policies to address homelessness and housing that are adapted to the different needs and realities of different individuals and communities and can ensure equality in access to homeless services and housing rights? The meeting brought together over 150 people with direct experience of poverty and homelessness from 30 European countries to exchange views on these questions with EU and national decision-makers. 

Read more and access the Report of the meeting here.


 10thpepmeeting-report-last-page2011The 10th Meeting of people experiencing poverty took place in Brussels, 14 and 15 May. The reality for people experiencing poverty and social exclusion facing unemployment, work and job difficulties was at the centre of the meeting gathering about 130 delegates representatives of people experiencing poverty and 80 guests coming from EU Institutions in Brussels. Insisting on the urgency to tackle the causes of poverty and not only the symptoms, the delegates expressed their demands to EU Decision makers on several aspects linked to employment, work and jobs: the need for quality jobs, the absence of jobs, the  necessary support to access employment and the urgent need to tackle discrimination. EU guests and delegates converged to a common recommendation “The problem is implementation: we need to make it happen!” Sonia Leemkuil, delegate from the Netherlands at the 10th Meeting, reported on the outcomes of the meeting at the First annual Convention in Krakow on 17-18 October 2011.

Read more and access the Report, Presentations and Video of the 10th Meeting here.


9th-eu-meeting2010: The 9th Meeting of people experiencing poverty took place in Brussels, at the European Parliament on 25 June and at the European Commission the next day, under the Spanish Presidency of the European Union. 15 MEPs and several high-profile officials from the Commission took part in this meeting, entitled Starting point for a new deal”. The meeting concluded with different priorities calling on the EU to focus on people rather than on competitiveness. These priorities call on EU leaders to reverse the current trend of cutting public services which will not put an end to the crisis but rather worsen the difficulties of not only one fith of the EU population facing poverty but also of several other millions of people at risk of poverty.

Read more and access the Report of the 9th Meeting here.

Access also the IMPACT STUDY on the European Meetings of People experiencing poverty – English FrenchGreek


door smaller2009: The 8th Meeting of people experiencing poverty took place in Brussels on 15 and 16 May 2009. It was organised by the Czech Presidency of the European Union, with the support of the European Commission and EAPN. The basic purpose of the Meetings of People experiencing poverty is to listen to people experiencing poverty, and to establish a dialogue with policy- and decision-makers in the field of fight against poverty and social exclusion at the European level and at national levels. The 8th Meeting, entitled “Where we live – What we need” addressed the topics of Housing, Financial Inclusion and Access to Basic Services.

Read more and access the Report and Video of the 8th Meeting.


 

7thEUmeeting2008: The 7th Meeting, under the auspices of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU, entitled Four Pillars in the Fight against Poverty”, focused on 4 topics: social services, services of general interest, housing and minimum income. These 4 elements were chosen as the 4 major fields in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. it was attended by 124 delegates with experience of poverty from the EU, and about the same number of representatives of national governments, the EC, EU non-governmental organisations and social partners.

 See report of the 7th Meeting of people experiencing poverty and watch also the film of the 7th Meeting


6th-pep-meeting2007: The 6th Meeting, under the German Presidency, decided to channel this priority through, and chose as the topic, “Strengthening Progress, drafting next steps”. It saw 130 delegates from 27 countries and 97 representatives of European and national authorities meeting on 4 and 5 May in Brussels. Delegates and guests gave the Meeting topic visual expression through symbolic objects. Without playing down the progress made on the social front, the delegates emphasized that the aim of eradicating poverty by 2010 is unrealistic when there are clear signs that poverty is spreading. The 6th Meeting clearly showed that participatory processes widen the prospects for and help increase workable empowerment. There was also found to be more joint work being done by associations and public authorities, and a demand for ongoing dialogue at national level.

 

See report of the 6th European Meeting of people experiencing poverty and Watch the film of the 6th Meeting!


cover 6th european meeting 200 2002006: Preparations under the Austrian Presidency encompassed all aspects of poverty and social exclusion around the topic “How do we cope with everyday life?”. The groundwork done by the delegates revealed the proactivity and energy of people experiencing poverty. Each delegation of people experiencing poverty prepared a poster and presented it to the plenary session: it was an unforgettable highlight of the 5th Meeting. The posters were collected into an exhibition staged at the Finland Round Table, in the Commission building in April 2007, and at the first National Meeting of people experiencing poverty in the United Kingdom in July 2007. The 5th meeting evaluation revealed a need to take stock of the first five Meetings.

 

See report of the fifth European Meeting of people experiencing poverty.


cover4meeting en 200 2002005: The Luxembourg Presidency chose to explore images and perceptions of poverty. A bigger focus is put on media productions – patchworks, paintings and photographs – brought in by people experiencing poverty. These creative endeavours were collected together into an exhibition staged at the Liverpool Round Table. A catalogue of the works was published. The Luxembourg Presidency showed the depth of its involvement by taking a powerful message to the June Council of Ministers, calling on all EU countries to organise the same kind of Meeting. Many EAPN national networks gradually began to set up similar kinds of meetings at national and/or regional level.

 

See report of the fourth European Meeting of people experiencing poverty.


cover3rdmeetingpep en 200 2002004: The topic chosen under the Irish Presidency reflected the demands that came out of the 2nd Meeting, and focused on dialogue between people experiencing poverty and policymakers under the title, “Participation is a two way street”. In a reversal of traditional roles, the “authorities” now became regarded as “guests” of the people experiencing poverty, and interfaced directly with the delegates in workshop discussions. The meeting concluded with an open forum between people experiencing povertyand a panel of policy-makers. A DVD made at the event will provide a tool for extensive use by the EAPN national networks to build awareness among national and regional policy makers

 

See report of the third European Meeting of people experiencing poverty.


cover2ndpep en 200 2002003: In 2002, the Belgian Government suggested a 2nd Meeting – an initiative taken up by the Greek Presidency. EAPN was asked to prepare it, but time was short to carry out proper groundwork with the delegations. The topic was “good participation practices”. The preparations and workshops produced attempts to create models for participatory processes and a demand from the delegates: people experiencing poverty want to be able to talk face-to-face with policy-makers on policies that affect them. Responding to this demand, the Greek Presidency asked the June Council for the European Meetings to become a recurrent process, like the Social Affairs Round Table.

 

See report of the second European Meeting of people experiencing poverty.


 

2001: The Belgian Government leveraged its experience in participation since 1994 and capitalised on its Presidency of the European Union to launch the 1st European meeting of people experiencing poverty which reviewed four issues: housing, health, training and incomes. The big conclusion of this first event was that people experiencing poverty had the knowledge and expertise to analyse exclusion, and aimed to take part in society and the decisions that affect their life.

See the report of the first European Meeting of people experiencing poverty.

 

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