The European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) welcomes the European Councilīs commitment to improve social cohesion and social inclusion and to give more attention to the fight against poverty and active inclusion. It is now time for the EU to turn these commitments into deeds!
"The conclusions of the European Council not only raise expectations for environmental concerns but also concerns relating to social cohesion and the fight against poverty", said Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
In particular EAPN welcomes:
- The reaffirmation of the need to strengthen economic and social cohesion.
- The highlighting of the social dimension of the EU.
- The view that the common social objectives should be better taken into account within the Lisbon Agenda.
- The stress on the need to fight poverty and social exclusion, especially child poverty.
- The need to give more attention to active inclusion...ensuring adequate levels of minimum resources, balanced with making work pay.
- The importance given to quality of employment.
- The importance of a stronger sense of ownership of the Lisbon Strategy by civil society, social partners, regions and local authorities.
"These important commitments if they are to be more than good words must now be reflected in the revised social agenda and the renewed integrated guidelines for the Lisbon strategy. They must also be reflected by greater political commitment and energy for the OMC on Social Protection and Social Inclusion and in the priorities for spending under the EU structural funds programmes" commented Mr Farrell.
"The conclusions are going in the right direction", added Mr. Farrell. "It is now time for EU political leaders to turn words into deeds."