A European Commission conference on 3 April 2014 explored ways of tackling poverty and social exclusion
A conference organised in Brussels by the European Commission on 3 April 2014 highlighted that adequate and well-designed minimum income schemes are essential for reducing poverty and social exclusion in Europe. The conference also focused on the role of local authorities in fighting poverty and social exclusion.
The event, which brought together over 100 European, national and local policy makers and experts, highlighted that adequate income schemes are a smart social investment and that the most competitive and prosperous member states often have the most comprehensive social welfare policies. László Andor, European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion (pictured), recognised in his opening remarks that the EU was failing to achieve its objective of lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020, and that there were 6.6 million more people living in poverty or social exclusion in 2012 than in 2008. As a result of this, it is likely that the EU will revise the poverty target as part of the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy. Commissioner Andor also detailed the different ways in which the Social Investment Package was being implemented in order to try to reduce poverty and social exclusion.
There was a focus on the work of local authorities at the event. Jordi Tolrà i Mabilon, director of social services in Barcelona, presented his city's efforts to tackle poverty and improve the social situation of its citizens. The work of Newcastle City Council on implementing a living wage was also discussed.
The issue of an adequate minimum income for all, and the role of the EU in making this a reality, will be further analysed in the review of the Europe 2020 strategy. It will also be addressed through the European semester, where the Commission provides recommendations on structural reforms that are deemed necessary in each member state.
Photo courtesy of EC Audiovisual Services