First name(s) and family name(s) of the author(s) : European Anti-Poverty Network General Assembly (EAPN)
Authors’ organisation / collective (name and website) : EAPN
Authors’ contact (phone, fax, email) : http://www.eapn.eu/
Date of the proposal : 9/06/2012
‘Austerity’ is not working and it is driving people further into poverty and making the ‘poor’ pay the price for the crisis they did not create. An EU Social Investment Pact is therefore needed.
The delegates of the GA call on the EU and Member States to agree a Social Investment Pact by:
1) Investing in a progressive stimulus package that supports people and raises income levels through investing in quality job-creation, accessible services and high level social protection systems, including adequate minimum income schemes, while ensuring access for disadvantaged groups through integrated Active Inclusion approaches. Investment in education, health services, affordable housing and energy and addressing increasing levels of homelessness must be part of such a pact.
2) Backing the role of the State to provide common goods and ensure inclusion and social cohesion - by guaranteeing universal, equitable welfare and services necessary for human well-being. A halt must be made to the transfer of state assets to for-profit corporations in sectors where competition attacks social rights.
3) Getting and distributing resources fairly – reverse the trend of growing levels of working poor by regulating for ‘living wages’ and investing in adequate minimum income schemes (at least at 60% of the median disposable income) while moving forward on an EU framework to ensure adequate minimum social standards across Europe to ensure a social floor. Finance this through tax justice – prioritize progressive income tax, wealth tax, financial transactions tax and tackle tax evasion and avoidance by closing down havens and loopholes through EU regulation.
4) Saving the Euro and reinforcing European economic stability– but not by sacrificing
solidarity between regions or between the wealthy and the poor. Eurobonds, cancellation of unpayable debts, flexible deficit and currency management and EU Financial Transactions Tax are vital tools, but economic governance must be delivered with social objectives and social justice as an end goal. An urgent priority is to safeguard Greece’s participation in the Euro zone and in the European Union and for the ECB to provide affordable financial support to all countries facing bail-outs.
5) Reinforcing democratic accountability through direct and participatory democracy - by strengthening the role of the national and European parliaments and investing in genuine regular civil dialogue with all stakeholders including NGOs and people experiencing poverty to design, monitor and implement alternative solutions to the crisis, including through Europe 2020.
6) Measuring social progress not economic performance – Go beyond GDP and develop a multiple, sustainable development index, which draws on the social indicators from the social OMC, and measures progress towards equality, health, material benefits and well being as well as cultural, social and political participation. Narrow the growing income and wealth gap, by putting a realistic and ambitious target to achieve more equal societies.
A re-launched Europe 2020 Strategy that takes its objective of inclusive growth and its poverty reduction target seriously, not as trickle-down afterthoughts, would provide an overarching framework to promote and monitor the implementation of such a social investment pact. Such a re-launched strategy would need to be underpinned by poverty and inequality reduction recommendations backed by financial investment, in particular through EU Funds with at least 25% of Cohesion Budget allocated to the European Social Fund (ESF) and at least 20% of the ESF ring fenced for social inclusion and fighting poverty.
European Union, Eurozone
economic growth; social cohesion; fight against poverty
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