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The financial & economic crisis together with current austerity policies are having a devastating impact on the daily life of people GETTING OUT experiencing poverty and are threatening social cohesion. The policies being pursued by Member States and the EU seem likely to increase poverty and social exclusion, and are OF THE putting at risk the European Social Model. An open and transparent debate is needed to CRISIS TOGETHER assess the effectiveness of current approaches and to explore alternatives. This important conference organized by theAlternative approaches for an European Anti-Poverty Network aims to analyze and raise awareness of the social inclusive recovery impact of the crisis and the austerity measures in all EU countries, and the EU role. It will be a unique opportunity to learn from the ground, to develop alternative EAPN CONFERENCE approaches and to strengthen alliances for change. Friday 23/09/2011 - Brussels This conference is supported by the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity-Progress (2007-2013). The information contained in PROGRAMME this document does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.
Practical information ContextDate : Friday 23 September 2011 The consequences of the crisis in terms of economic downturn and unemployment are well documented and well known. The devastatingVenue : International Auditorium, International Trade-Unions House, social consequences both of the crisis itself and of the austerity packagesboulevard Albert II, 5, 1210 Brussels implemented are mostly under-assessed and ignored in the public debate.Languages : French & English in the plenary sessions. Of the 6 workshopsthere will be 2 in French and English. Whispered translation will be Based on the reality people on the ground face, EAPN has highlighted in twoorganized amongst EAPN delegations for those who need it. crisis reports: -The crisis is having multifaceted consequences, impacting on peopleParticipants : Approximately 200 participants – consisting of 120 EAPN already in crisis, outside work as well as those in workmembers (1 representative from each national network in each of the 3 - The policy choices being made by EU and MS are likely to generate aworking groups (social inclusion, employment and structural funds working dramatic increase in deprivation, poverty and social exclusiongroups), EAPN European Organisation members and people experiencing - The most vulnerable and discriminated against are affected the mostpoverty participating in EAPN participation training taking place in Brussels - Worrying social tensions are arising between different groups, and Peopleon the 21 and 22 September, 80 stakeholders from Brussels: social NGOs, Experiencing Poverty are increasingly stigmatized in a context where thesocial partners, representatives from EU and national authorities, emphasis is put on individual responsibilityacademics…. - NGOs, who play a key role in cushioning the impact of the crisis as well asPreparatory session: For EAPN members a ½ day workshop will be supporting the voice of the disempowered, are gravely weakened and theirorganized on the afternoon on 22 September to prepare together for the contribution to society at stake.conference. The crisis is far from being over and new negative developments areContact: Sian Jones firstname.lastname@example.org reported every day. The harsh austerity policy packages implemented Rebecca Lee Rebecca.email@example.com nationally are worsening the situation of people already badly hurt by the Tel: + 32 2 226 58 50 crisis. Together with the choice made in favor of more deregulation, they Website : www.eapn.eu are jeopardizing the European social model with cuts applied to services andUseful documents: social protection benefits, as well as downward pressure on wages. EAPN reports on the social impact of the crisisIs the European project moving backward? February 2011 EAPN share with other actors the idea that the crisis was not inevitable, andThe social impact of the crisis and of the recovery package, December 2009 more the result of deregulation and increasing inequality than public sector spending. The austerity now imposed on people is neither fair nor efficient for ensuring an inclusive recovery which can benefit all.
At the European level, the 2020 Strategy is from 2010 the framework withinwhich the main national policies dealing with the crisis are nowcoordinated. This new strategy clearly states a strong social ambition withnotably:→ One of the five headline targets aiming at “ensuring that at least 20million fewer people are in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion”,→ A new Guideline 10 devoted to ‘Promoting Social inclusion andcombating poverty’→ The setting up of a European Flagship Platform against poverty andsocial exclusion;→ The promotion of a clear partnership principle (Recital 16).However, EAPN is concerned about the lack of policy consistency beingpromoted by the Commission and the Member States who give top priorityto budget stability and economic growth at all costs. (See the January 2011Commission Annual Growth Survey and the Euro Plus Pact). EAPN isalarmed that these decisions are taking place without adequate public anddemocratic scrutiny or a proper assessment of their social impact.
Aims of the conference The European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) is an independent network of non-governmentalThis conference aims at providing a unique space for exchange betweenanti-poverty activists, trade-unionists, other NGOs activists, policy decision organisations (NGOs) and groups, established in 1990,makers and researchers on the causes and the consequences of the crisis fighting for a Europe free of poverty and socialand on possible alternative approaches. As a participative network, the exclusion.voice of people experiencing poverty will be at the centre of the debates andwill give a large space to the presentation of members’ experiences andmobilisations.We hope to use this space for exchange as a catalyst for mobilization andfor strengthened alliances around common demands at the national andEuropean levels.Objectives Lobby EU decision makers in the context of the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy for: the social consequences of the crisis to be better addressed the causes of the crisis to be tackled and alternative approaches openly explored. Strengthen alliances with key partners who are building alternative responses to the crisis, building on the 2010 NGO Alliance and the Spring Alliance. Empowering members in order to facilitate their mobilization for alternative approaches to the crisis and their participation in policy making in the framework of the 2020 Strategy. Strengthen a more active participation of PEP in developing solutions in the network.
Programme Morning session 11.00 - 12.30 Social impact of the crisis: realities lived by people9.00 - 10.30 Opening plenary: Is the EU on the right track for reducing experiencing poverty at the national level, Positive poverty? promoting a fair and sustainable response to the alternatives and mobilization? crisis? 6 parallel workshops: Chair: Ludo Horemans, EAPN President Welcome, Ludo Horemans, EAPN President Each workshop will analyze 2/3 country cases and will assess: → the reality experienced by people experiencing poverty; Key note speeches: (30’) → the effectiveness and fairness of government’s exit strategies including Opening statement by a person experiencing poverty positive examples; Short presentation of EAPN position on the crisis, → the mobilization of civil society and other actors. Katherine Duffy, Expert and author of EAPN position/EAPN UK, (10’) (see comprehensive programme of the workshops below) What are the real causes of the crisis? What are the lessons to be learned? Susan George, President of the Transnational Institute (tbc) 12.30 - 14.00 Lunch break Round Table: How is Europe 2020 going to reduce poverty Tables will be available for participants to display material illustrating in the context of the crisis response? (30’) impact and mobilization they are engaged in relation to the treatment of Lauris BEETS , Chair of Social Protection Ctee (tbc) the crisis. Pervenche Berès, Chair of the Employment Ctee, European Parliament (S+D, France) (tbc) Catherine Day, European Commission Secretary General (tbc) Debate (30’)10.30 - 11.00 Coffee break
Afternoon session14.00 - 15.30 What alternative solutions are being developed?6 parallel workshops will focus on alternative solutions at national and EUlevel for delivering a social and sustainable growth.(see comprehensive programme of the workshops below)16.00 - 17.30 Closing plenary - How to strengthen alliances and mobilization for an alternative approach?Chair : Fintan Farrell, EAPN Director→ Feed back from workshops(Rapporteurs will prepare short conclusions to power point template)→ Panel discussion: What way forward? (30’)5 organisations will be asked to highlight their response to EAPN proposalsand feedback from workshops, and set out proposals for moving forward. European Trade Union Congress Spring Alliance / European Environmental Bureau Social Platform Cross-networking alliance/our Europe 15th M MovementDebate (30’)
Workshops Programme MORNING WORKSHOP SESSION: AFTERNOON WORSHOP SESSION:Social impact of the crisis: realities lived by people experiencing Alternatives and alliances poverty; alternatives and mobilization These workshops’ objectives are:These workshops will aim at an exchange of experience on the groundregarding: To discuss alternative approaches likely to deliver social and sustainable growth the consequences of the crisis and of the policies implemented – negative and positive examples To strengthen alliances aiming at promoting these alternatives the mobilization of civil society aiming at raising awareness of the social Each workshop is devoted to key areas of EU policies where alternative impact of the crisis and demanding adequate responses, approaches are seen as a priority. In each workshop the discussion will be introduced by presentations on two specific countries and input from people experiencing poverty. Workshop 1 - Is stability/austerity the only way? Re-thinking EU macroeconomics basics. Presentation 1: Presentation 1: Anti-poverty NGOs have been documenting the disastrous social impact of Workshop Ireland Workshop Hungary austerity policies on social cohesion. They question the primacy given to 1 Presentation 2: 4 Presentation 2: budget stability, economic governance and fiscal restraint through EU Denmark Finland economic and monetary policies that underpin the EU 2020 Strategy. They Presentation 1: Presentation 1: are convinced that fairer alternative approaches to exit strategies, reducing Workshop Spain Workshop Greece public deficits, including taxation are possible. They want to discuss the 2 Presentation 2: 5 Presentation 2: shaping of the EU Budget. The workshop will discuss alternative Iceland Belgium macroeconomic approaches to exit strategies and to driving Europe 2020. Presentation 1: Presentation 1: Inputs: Workshop UK Workshop Portugal Alexandra Strickner, ATTAC, tbc 3 Presentation 2: 6 Presentation 2: Representative of Euromemorandum, tbc Poland Estonia
Workshop 2 - An alternative use of Cohesion Policy is part of the solution Inputs: Ronald Janssen, ETUC, on austerity impact on employment, tbcEven during the current economic crisis, Structural Funds have fallen far Diana Dovgan, CECOP, on WISES and the crisis / austerity, tbc measuresshort of their potential to promote social inclusion. Anti-poverty NGOs havebeen calling for Cohesion Policy to be better geared to developing social Workshop 4 - Strengthening social protection, including adequateinclusion and being more accessible to small scale projects and minimum income for all, is the fair way out of the crisis: it really works -organisations. The EU 2020 Flagship initiative on Poverty and social FRinclusion make some positive proposals about Structural Funds.Nevertheless, a radical rethinking is needed to make sure that Cohesion The role of automatic stabilization of social protection in the crisis has beenpolicy will deliver on the social targets of the EU2020 Strategy and be a key formally recognized by the EU, as well as its key role in reducing poverty byinstrument to ensure a positive response to the crisis. How to make it really 1/3. However social services and social benefits are being the first hit byhappen? austerity measures. This approach will not only generate more poverty and social exclusion, exacerbating the hardship and insecurity faced by the mostInputs: vulnerable, but is destroying the social floor, undermining consumption and Elisabeth Schroedter, MEP, EMPL Committee, tbc the economy and preventing a sustainable, socially cohesive recovery. This Frederic Vallier, Secretary General, Council of European Municipalities & workshop will gather arguments in favor of investing in minimum income Regions (CCMR), tbc and social protection including as productive factors, assessing the long- Brian Harvey, Independent Social Reseacher term social and economic impact of inaction and cuts, and discuss concrete proposals, in the framework of the 2020 strategy (including an EUWorkshop 3 - Creating quality employment and ensuring employment framework for minimum income).security are positive factors of cohesive and sustainable growth! Inputs: Henri Lourdelle, ETUC on recent resolution backing EU framework forThe EU is seen as supporting worrying developments in terms of minimum incomeemployment policy. Evidence from the ground points to negative effects of Bart Vanhercke, Director of OSE, on productive role of social protectionnational austerity policies, often driven by EU requirements, such as and costs of non-action, tbcderegulation of the labour market, downward pressure on wages andworking conditions, increased in-work-poverty. Unless a change of Workshop 5 - Services: Cushioning the social impacts of the crisis byparadigm happens, towards sustainable and inclusive growth in defending universal, affordable, accessible and quality servicesemployment policy, than neither the employment, nor the poverty targetsof Europe 2020 can hope to be achieved. This can only be obtained through The universal, affordable, accessible and quality nature of services is undersupporting integrated Active Inclusion approaches in employment, featuring threat despite the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and the recentpersonalised pathways towards inclusive labour markets (complete with European Voluntary Quality Framework on Social Services of Generaladequate social protection and access to quality services), and investment Interests. Services are indeed first to be cut in austerity policies despite thein quality jobs (both existing and newly-created posts).
fact they are most needed by people to cope. The budget cuts are also beingused to drive a growing privatization agenda leading to a worrying trend ofof poor, segmented services for specific target groups. Civil societyinitiatives should not compensate for a decline in public investment inservices. Europe 2020 should invest in services as economic and socialstabilizers in time of crisis as well as explore the potential for sociallyinnovative approaches , also building on bottom-up approaches led byNGO initiatives.Inputs: Laura Jones, Eurodiaconia/Social Platform, tbc EPSU Jan Wilhelm Goudriaan, tbcWorkshop 6 - Democratic deficit: who decides?Increasingly people are losing confidence in the ability of democraticInstitutions to protect their interests. The rescue packages from the crisisare seen to be acting in the interest of the elites in the financial institutionsat the cost of investment in public services and social welfare. At the sametime civil society organisations and anti poverty NGOs lack the necessaryfinancial support to be able both to support people in need and fulfill theiradvocacy role.Challenging budget decisions and proposing democratic alternativesrequires capacity building in economic literacy. One response to this realityhas been the call for the practice of ‘participative budgeting’: aparticipative budget-setting methodology developed primarily by self-organized development organizations in the South. This workshop willdiscuss the development of this practice and explore to what extent thispractice could be further developed in the EU. ‘Action Aid’ has developedexpertise in this area and will assist in the development of this workshop.Inputs: Action Aid, tbc