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Peer Review in Belgium: The Belgian Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion EU 2020

26/02/2014
Peer Review in Belgium: The Belgian Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion EU 2020 © satori, Fotolia

The onset of the economic crisis has increased the risk of poverty across Europe making the need for action to fight poverty all the more pressing. In mid-January 2014 Peer Reviewers met in Brussels to hear about the approach in Belgium where the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion involves a wide range of stakeholders to formulate policy recommendations.

Host Country: Belgium

Date: 14-15 January 2014

Peer countries: Austria - Bulgaria - Czech Republic - Finland - France - Greece - Ireland - Malta

Stakeholders: the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) and the Social Platform

The Belgian Platform is designed to feed into the Europe 2020 Strategy, which includes the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion as one of seven flagship initiatives. Since 2011 the Belgian Platform has brought together a wide variety of participants, including government representatives, social partners, social services, NGOs and – crucially – people experiencing poverty, for quarterly meetings. Although the Platform has no real policy making authority, it provides an important forum for open dialogue and increasing awareness of the European framework for fighting social exclusion.

Lessons learned

  • Stakeholder involvement (broadly defined) is vital to create better policies and to achieve EU targets. In particular, stakeholders should include people experiencing poverty and a mix of policy makers with different backgrounds.
  • Political support is a significant determinant of impact. To maximise political support and therefore impact, the role of the Platform needs to be clearly defined, topics should be prepared well in advance and timed to feed into the policy-making process.
  • Openness about the (political) reach of recommendations is essential. There should be feedback on impacts or lack thereof (i.e. accountability), making outcomes visible.
  • Further support from the EU would help develop stakeholder involvement at all levels across the EU, for example through raising awareness and support of EU policy initiatives, the use of targeted EU funding and promoting mutual learning.

Peer Review manager

Ms Renate Haupfleisch (ÖSB Consulting GmbH)