Social investment: the appropriate means to effectively reduce poverty and inequalities in the EU
Brussels December 5 – Without combating rising inequalities and poverty in the EU, there will be no social Europe for a better future and well-being of all. On December 5-7 the Annual Convention Against Poverty and Social Exclusion will take place in Brussels, organised by the European Commission and the Cypriot EU Presidency.
Today, the austerity measures promoted by many governments and encouraged by EU economic governance, are resulting in increased inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. The Annual Growth Survey (AGS) of 2013 – presented by the Commission last week – also fails to acknowledge that austerity measures aggravate inequalities, poverty and social exclusion. No concrete proposals or guidelines were formulated by the Commission to address the on-going increase in inequality and poverty.
“As social NGOs we want two things”, states Conny Reuter, President of Social Platform “End poverty and reduce inequalities! We want people to have decent jobs and a quality life out of poverty. But this is not enough. We also want them to live in a society where wealth is better shared and access to quality and available services for everyone insured. In times of crisis and of austerity policies, social cohesion and wellbeing are under threat, but they are the heart of our European social model – and are not up for bargaining.”
How to respond to this social crisis?
First of all, we wait for the Social Investment Package as a Commission’s initiative for 2013. We consider that such initiative should comprise services and infrastructure, and it should focus more broadly on investing in people’s well-being.
Secondly, combating poverty cannot wait for growth and employment to improve again since this might take several years – it has to be a policy priority on its own. The EU and its member states need to develop an integrated poverty and social exclusion strategy at both European and national level to ensure an immediate reduction of poverty. For the moment there is no commitment and no implementation. After the commitment made in June 2010, member states have not even reached a target of 12 million when they pledged 20 million 3 years ago. More worrying is that poverty is on the rise.
Thirdly, the European Convention of the European Platform Against Poverty and Social Exclusion must be an essential instrument in the implementation of the poverty target. It should take stock of the implementation of the poverty target in all countries, and provide a forum for reflection by the EU, the member states and civil society on the actions needed to improve the situation.
Finally, social cohesion and wellbeing is about people. Therefore, policies aimed at improving the life of the ones in difficult situations should be thought through and designed with the people concerned and the organisations working with them. Social NGOs shall be involved in the European and national economic governance to ensure that there is no detrimental social impact on people.
Read the full speech of our President addressing the Convention.
About the Social Platform
The Platform of European Social NGOs (the Social Platform) is the alliance of representative European federations and networks of non-governmental organisations active in the social sector, promoting social justice and participatory democracy by voicing the concerns of its member organisations. The Social Platform and its members are committed to the advancement of the principles of equality, solidarity, non discrimination and the promotion and respect of fundamental rights for all, within Europe and in particular the European Union.
For more information visit www.socialplatform.org
For more information please contact:
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Social Platform is the largest civil society alliance fighting for social justice and participatory democracy in Europe. Consisting of 46 pan-European networks of NGOs, Social Platform campaigns to ensure that EU policies are developed in partnership with the people they affect, respecting fundamental rights, promoting solidarity and improving lives.