The role of the European parliament in combating poverty and the negative consequences of the crisis

European Parliament Blue Ribbon

The European Parliament has always taken a firm stand against poverty and social exclusion, which is well reflected by its everyday legislative and non-legislative work, including several major reports and resolutions that have been adopted in the last few years.

To voice its commitment in the fight against poverty, social exclusion and the negative consequences of the crises and highlight its efforts to counter them, the European Parliament developed a communication campaign, taking place in the framework of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010) and which will continue with the European Year of Volunteering (2011). The campaign is leading up to the Citizen's Agora on Crises and forms of poverty, the largest consultation with civil society that will be organised by the European Parliament in cooperation with the European Economic and Social committee at the end of January 2011. The symbol of the campaign is a blue ribbon with European stars. It represents the commitment of the European Parliament to fight against poverty and social exclusion, but furthermore, it will represent its "social face", reminding the public that a social conscience and solidarity are among the European Parliament's core values, embedded in all aspects of its work.

The European Parliament decided to launch this campaign during the October session week in Strasbourg, a day after the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17th October). Moreover, there are many subjects directly or indirectly related to the topics of poverty, social exclusion and crises on the Parliamentary agenda in October.

  • On Tuesday 19th October, a joint debate on poverty will take place with the Council and Commission, followed by a debate on Ilda Figueiredo's report on the role of minimum income in combating poverty and promoting an inclusive society in Europe.
  • At midday, the plenary will be addressed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, who will also talk about the use of microfinance in helping people to get out of poverty.
  • On Wednesday the mid-term report of the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis will be presented by its author, Pervenche Bérès, and its recommendations on measures and initiatives to be taken will be debated by the MEPs.
  • In the afternoon, a joint debate on financial instruments will take place, during which several reports on this issue will be presented.

To highlight the main points of the European Parliament's communication campaign:

  • On Tuesday, 19th October, a ceremony in front of an installation of an oversized blue ribbon in the Geremek Agora of the Louise Weiss building is planned at 14.45 in the presence of Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and EP president Buzek. A declaration about ending poverty and social exclusion will be handed over by a group of young representatives of ATD Quart Monde.
  • On November 19th a human ring around the European Parliament in Brussels is organised by the coalition of NGOs formed for the European Year 2010. Representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and European Commission will address the participants who will gather in solidarity against poverty and social exclusion and call for a political commitment from the EU to ending poverty and social exclusion.
  • The third and major event will be Citizens' Agora on Crises and Forms of Poverty, planned for end of January 2011 in Brussels.

You can follow all the mentioned debates and speeches in the plenary on the European Parliament's website under EP Live section or via EuroparlTV.

As it has in the past, the European Parliament will continue to raise its voice for the concerns of its citizens: in particular those less advantaged or at risk of social exclusion, such as the poor, the disabled, or the elderly.