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The First Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: Are we reaching our targets?

21/10/2011 The First Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: Are we reaching our targets?

The Convention, that took place in Krakow (Poland) on 17-18 October was organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the Polish presidency.

It brought together over 400 participants from 38 European countries, including 12 Ministers, 3 MEPs and civil society representatives, NGOs and experts to look at where we stand on the Europe 2020 target to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty by 2020.

The Commissioner, Mr. Lazlo Andor, the Polish Labour Minister Ms. Jolanta Fedak and DG EMPL Director General Mr. Koos Richelle gave speeches and all participants actively engaged in discussion, round tables and workshops to develop and formulate ideas and suggestions for initiatives to be taken in 2012 and 2013.

The discussions clearly showed that reaching those targets has been seriously compromised as a result of the economic crisis and austerity measures.

The Member States need to do more and the Convention clearly showed that:

  • we need a common European "benchmark" for action to combat poverty,
  • we need to focus on poverty affecting children,
  • we need to promote the three pillars of active inclusion — active labour-market policies, minimum income and access to services — through social innovation,
  • there is need to promote healthy, active ageing, and  
  • more attention should be given to the social and economic inclusion of disadvantaged groups, and in particular Roma and young people not in education, employment or training.

All participants called upon the Commission to continue its work on the Platform and to give stakeholders and policymakers the chance to continue to have their say.

Commissioner Andor also expressed his gratitude for having been able to visit a number of projects helping people in situations of poverty and social exclusion.  The other participants had a choice of ten sites they could visit covering a multitude of projects.

The conclusions of the Annual Convention will be presented by Commissioner Andor to the College of Commissioners and by the Polish Presidency to the Employment and Social Affairs (EPSCO) Council on 1 December 2011, in Brussels.

Images and photos from the conference and site visits are available on Europe by Satellite (EbS).

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