Brussels, 23 October 2012 – EAPN calls on the Cypriot Presidency and President Van Rompuy to garner support from Member States for the European Commission’s proposal on the European Social Fund, already supported by the European Parliament. Asked by EAPN to give their position on this proposal, only 3 Member States replied. While all Member States committed to the poverty reduction target and recognised the need for a common EU framework for investment in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, most of them are still likely to flout their commitments by rejecting the European Commission’s proposal.
“If Member States reject the Commission’s proposal to allocate the minimum and necessary share of the EU budget to the European Social Fund and to fighting social exclusion and poverty, they jeopardise both the future of the European Social Fund and its contribution to the EU poverty target” said Sergio Aires, President of EAPN.
“That would be a sign of a total political inconsistency with the commitments taken by national Governments to reduce poverty. This kind of attitude puts at risk not only any possibility of poverty reduction but also social cohesion at its base and the future of the EU. This would be the final road to disaster”, he added.
“Now that there is increasing recognition that austerity measures don’t work and have only resulted in growing and deepening levels of poverty and exclusion, social investment through the right use of EU funds promoting social cohesion is absolutely necessary”, said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
NGOs involved in the EU Money for Poverty Reduction NOW! Campaign will send a joint letter to the General Affairs Council meeting on 20th November, at which Member States should state their position on the European Commission’s proposal and, consequently, fix the future of the ESF and its potential to deliver on the poverty reduction target. The letter will be accompanied by the Campaign’s petition asking Member States to support the Commission’s proposal.
- Social NGO Campaign: EU Money for Poverty Reduction NOW!
- See the Campaign’s petition here.
- EAPN’s letter to Member States asking for their position on the European Commission’s proposal
As a follow up to the Social NGO Campaign “EU Money for Poverty Reduction Now”, EAPN wrote to all Member States to ask their position in relation to the European Commission’s proposal, supported by the European Parliament, to allocate at least 25% of the future EU Cohesion Policy’s Budget to the European Social Fund (ESF) with at least 20% of the ESF earmarked for addressing social inclusion and poverty reduction.
Only three Member States (Poland, Ireland and Belgium) responded to this request for transparency. While Belgium indicated that the contribution of the future EU budget to the fight against poverty was crucial without any direct commitments, Poland and Ireland both indicated that they advocated for greater flexibility to allow Member States to determine their own investment priorities.
EAPN has argued the opposite and said that the added value of EU money should reflect a common EU project and should invest money behind the target agreed by EU leaders to reduce the numbers living in poverty in the EUby at least 20 million people by 2020. Without such investment, EU targets become empty words.
Following the strong position of the European Parliament, there is momentum now building behind the Commission’s original proposal.
Final decisions are likely to be taken at the General Affairs Council in November and EAPN is now calling on the Cypriot Presidency and President Van Rompuy to intervene to ensure that the future EU Budget will support the agreed EU poverty reduction target.
For further information, contact Vincent Caron (Policy Officer) email@example.com, Fintan Farrellfintan.firstname.lastname@example.org (Director) or Nellie Epinat (Communications officer) email@example.com. Tel: +32 (0)2 226 58 50.
Photo: @Dying Regime, 20 nov 2007.