Brussels, 4 December 2012
Poverty Convention will address social exclusion and social investment
The second annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion will take place in Brussels on 5-7 December 2012. Commission President José Manuel Barroso, President Herman Van Rompuy of the European Council, Isabelle Durant, Vice-President of the European Parliament, László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Tonio Borg, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy will address the opening ceremony. The Convention will review the progress made towards reaching the poverty target and act as a forum for consultation on the upcoming Social Investment Package.
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor commented: "In some parts of Europe we are seeing a real social emergency with rising poverty and massive levels of unemployment, especially among our young people. Inequality within and between Member States is not sustainable. We must invest in social policies that empower people from an early age, strengthen their capabilities to cope with risks and enhance their opportunities to participate in society throughout their lives, irrespective of their background. That will be the objective of the Social Investment Package that I will present in early 2013."
The Social Investment Package will set out a new agenda for social policies to help Member States make the structural reforms needed to sustain investment in human capital and cohesion to emerge out of the crisis and become stronger, more cohesive and more competitive in the long run.
The Convention will take stock of progress so far and discuss some of the main themes that could be addressed by the social investment package. These are: increasing the effectiveness of social protection, health investment, the gender dimension of poverty, the best ways to secure active inclusion and the role of digital technologies in enabling social inclusion.
Some 500 people active in combatting poverty are due to attend the convention, together with, on the last day, Member States' Ministers for Social Affairs.
With over 119,6 million people in the EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion, the European Platform against Poverty and social exclusion launched in 2010 sets out actions to support Member States in reaching the EU target of reducing poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020. The European Platform is one of the Flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
The European Platform against Poverty ensures that poverty and social exclusion is addressed from an integrated perspective with other relevant policy areas. The relationship between poverty and policy areas such as health, economic development, youth, environment, regions, for example, is clearly recognised. Furthermore, the European Platform on Poverty provides the impetus and stimulus for national and European actions against poverty and social exclusion which should reflect this integrated approach and ensure the mainstreaming of poverty and social exclusion policy.
Combating poverty and social exclusion is primarily a responsibility for Member States. However, EU action supports and complements what is done at national level.
Starting from 2000, the EU has helped Member States learn from each other and improve their policies, through the Social Open Method of Coordination. Many other policies and programmes contribute. For example the EU provides direct support to those at risk through financial programmes, in particular the European Social Fund, and has promoted better working conditions and action against discrimination through legislation.
Such cooperation is all the more important in a context of strained public budgets. Yet a more coherent approach is needed. The Platform is an opportunity to step up efforts, help Member States and key stakeholders learn from each other, and catalyse reforms and effective action.
For more information
For more information on the conference:
For the programmE:http://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=9214&langId=en
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Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)
Nadège Defrère (+32 2 296 45 44)