Month: May 2018

Could the “Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived” support a Social Rights based approach?

The 10th “Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)” Network meeting took place on 24-25 April in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmo, Sweden.

The event focused on ‘FEAD’s contribution to the delivery of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR)’ principles.

10th FEAD Network Meeting

With a mix of panel discussions, group activities and on site project visits, delegates were able to understand the breadth of ESPR, from its core policies to implementation on the ground.

As we already wrote it in previous posts, the European Pillar of Social Rights is a new initiative launched by the European Commission, which aims to introduce new and more effective rights for EU citizens. The concept includes 20 key principles and is based around 3 categories which are key to FEAD’s success in tackling the types of social deprivation found across the EU:

  • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market,
  • Fair working conditions,
  • Social protection and inclusion.

Throughout the two days delegates listened to presentations from the hosting countries Denmark and Sweden, who explained the impact of FEAD and EPSR have on a local and national level. They highlighted that homelessness is a major social issue in both Denmark and Sweden which comes with a range of complex issues that require differentiated activities to address them.

Delegates were then introduced to two Danish and three Swedish projects that specialised in supporting these homeless people, many of whom are EU mobile citizens, Roma and women.

Following this, delegates were invited to take part in an interactive session to explore the way in which FEAD activities can be tailored to address the needs of specific target groups using the EPSR principles.

Project visits

During the second day delegates were given a closer look at some of the projects in action. Delegates were split into three groups. One group was given a bus tour in Malmö, and the remaining 2 groups were able to visit projects across Copenhagen.

The Malmö bus tour provided a closer look at the BETTER HEALTH, PO DROM, FRISK projects that were presented the previous day. The BETTER HEALTH and FRISK projects focus on delivering a range of health initiatives to vulnerable groups and women funded by FEAD.

In Copenhagen, delegates visited Danish projects UDENFOR and Compass, which tackle migrant homelessness and unemployment. The project visits were a valuable way to understand the wider effects of EPSR on the front line delivery of FEAD projects.

Interactive activities

Throughout the meeting, delegates were encouraged to interact with the new FEAD Network Facebook group. The online space aims to connect members, encourage discussion and share the latest policy news.

There was a range of interactive activities for delegates to be a part of including live posting throughout the two days, interactive polls and an exclusive Facebook Live video interview with Marie-Anne Paraskevas.

Join the Facebook group to keep up to date with the FEAD and to view photos from the meeting.

Download the conference report for more details on the 10th FEAD Network Meeting.

Info from:

The Agenda 2030 and the European Pillar of Social Rights as overarching single EU framework?

In Brussels, Eurodiaconia, a network of 46 organizations in 32 European countries providing social services and working for social justice, urged the European Commission to bring together the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) under an overarching single framework guiding the EU’s work for the post-2020 period.

The European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) is a framework of 20 principles building upon existing European social rights, which was jointly proclaimed by all three EU Institutions on 17 November 2017.

Two years earlier, the European Commission has committed itself to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (Agenda 2030) and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

On the occasion of an event in the European Parliament on the 15th May 2018 “Sustainable Development Goals vs European Pillar of Social Rights?” Eurodiaconia presented its research paper onIntegrating and Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The research paper seeks to assess how the EPSR and SDGs can complement each other and make a real difference in people’s lives through their effective implementation.

The publication is accompanied by a policy recommendation paper, suggesting five steps to integrate the EPSR and SDGs frameworks and their monitoring mechanisms in order to facilitate their effective implementation throughout the EU.

During the meeting, Heather Roy for Eurodiaconia commented that: “It is wrong to assume that there is a division of fields of application between the EPSR and the SDGs along the lines of internal versus external policies. On the contrary, the SDGs aspire to be a global agenda applicable also to the EU’s internal policies. Therefore, when considered together, those two elements have the potential to form a coherent and comprehensive post-2020 strategy for the EU.”


Social Welfare Adequate and Accessible for All?

“Social Welfare for All? A Local and European Perspective on Adequacy and Accessibility”

The European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland will be hosting the European Minimum Income Network Bus Tour from May 18th-May 21st. Delegates and volunteers from the European Minimum Income Network Europe are travelling across European by bus, raising awareness and highlighting the importance of social welfare supports, which benefit and are accessed by the poorest in society.

Guaranteed Minimum Income Schemes: Nobody deserves less, everybody benefits!
At the occasion of the Bus Tour a petition is run by the European EMIN. Support ENIM to call for European concrete actions to achieve the progressive realisation of adequate, accessible and enabling Minimum Income Schemes as part of comprehensive social protection systems supported by an EU Framework Directive.

Support the petition here!

As part of this tour, EAPN Ireland will be hosting free seminars in Limerick, Longford and Dublin. The title of the seminars is as follows: “Social Welfare for All?: A Local and European Perspective on Adequacy and Accessibility”

The seminars will include short presentations, representing national and European view points on social welfare supports and input from those who have had personal experience of the social welfare system. There will also be a panel response as well as discussion and debate from the floor, to ensure the Irish perspective, both national and local area, will be adequately represented and reflected as the bus tours around Europe.

The venues and times are as follows:

  • May 18th Limerick– Limerick Library, the Granary, Michael St, Limerick city – 11.30am-13.15pm
  • May 19th Longford– Longford Library, Tesco Carpark, Longford town – 11am-12.30pm
  • May 21st Dublin- The Oak room, Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2- 2pm-4pm

(Please note: registration for Dublin event essential due to number restrictions, please register at )

EU Social Triple A requires political engagement and proper funding

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has used an own-initiative opinion to call for sufficient funding resources to be put in place for implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. Adopted at its plenary session on 19 April 2018, the opinion calls for improvements in the Member States and a robust commitment in terms of budget, investment and current spending to make the Social Pillar a reality.

Following the proclamation of the Social Pillar in autumn 2017, the Committee urges Europe’s leaders to now turn their declaration of intent into a serious commitment and to press ahead with the progressive implementation of the pillar. This requires not just the commitment of the Member States but also the active ownership, responsibility and participation of all EU institutions, regional and local authorities, social partners and other civil society stakeholders – and adequate funding measures to reflect this.

The Key points of the EESC call:

  • The principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights (the “Social Pillar”) and the need for its implementation should constitute one of the guiding lines in the negotiations on the next EU multi-annual financial framework.
  • Making a reality of the Social Pillar will require improvements in Member States and a robust budgetary base, investment and current spending.
  • Spending needs are particularly large in lower-income countries and in countries that suffered income declines in recent years. All face some degree of constraint from EU rules on budgets and debt levels.
  • Scope for more spending can be created within Member States and with the help of various EU-level programmes.
  • Private sector investment can make a contribution in some areas but will not be enough and cannot ensure against exclusion of the socially weakest.
  • More public investment within Member States can be facilitated by reference to a Golden Rule for public investment with a social objective, which would allow more flexibility in budget rules with a view to achieving the aims of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
  • More public investment can also be supported by the use of existing EU instruments, especially the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs), and by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
  • Appropriate taxation policies, including effective fight against tax fraud, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning, should allow Member States and the EU to raise additional means to contribute to the financing of the Social Pillar.
  • The implementation of the Social Pillar requires the active ownership, responsibility and participation of relevant stakeholders at all the different levels: the European institutions, the Member States and regional and local authorities, as well as the social partners and other civil society stakeholders.

“The question of how to fund the implementation of the Social Pillar is a logical consequence of its proclamation,” says Anne Demelenne (Workers’ Group, BE), the rapporteur for the EESC opinion on the subject. “In our view, the key elements for the funding will be more flexibility in EU budgetary rules for public investment, the full use of European Structural Funds and fair taxation.”

The EESC is firmly convinced that adequate social investment will be crucial for ensuring Member States’ ability to accomplish the declared objectives of achieving better and sustainable social protection and enhancing the EU’s economic potential. It believes that scope for appropriate spending could be created within Member States and with the help of EU programmes by redistributing wealth in a way that respects the principles of solidarity, flexibility and responsibility.

Spending needs would be particularly large in lower-income countries and in those that had suffered drops in income in recent years. These countries would have limited potential for additional social investment, also because their spending is often restricted by the Stability and Growth Pact and its provisions regarding Member States’ budget and debt levels.

With this in mind, the Committee urges that existing European instruments be used to support public investment in the Member States. The European Union must, the EESC believes, play an active role in implementing the Social Pillar. The European Structural and Investment Funds (EFIFs) and the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), in particular, could be sources of financial support.

As EESC rapporteur Anne Demelenne argues: “The principles of the Social Pillar and the need for its implementation should constitute one of the guiding lines in the upcoming negotiations on the European Union’s post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework. The EU budget must ensure that real added value is delivered to citizens’ lives. Only in this way will it be possible to regain their trust and support for the European project.” The EESC therefore urges, in line with the European Parliament, that the current 1% ceiling for the EU’s expenditure be increased.

More public investment within Member States could also be facilitated by invoking a Golden Rule for public investment with a social objective related to the pillar’s twenty key principles. This would allow for a more flexible application of EU budget rules to ensure sustainable growth in Europe.

“The revenue loss for Member States and the EU due to aggressive tax planning and tax fraud is significant. Appropriate tax policies should allow for fair taxation, a better combating of tax fraud and thereby raising additional means to contribute to the funding of the Social Pillar,” says Anne Demelenne.

In addition to public national and EU funding, the EESC believes private sector investment could make a contribution in some areas. However, it would not be enough in itself and could not ensure against exclusion of the socially weakest, which is why public funding would be more meaningful for the Social Pillar.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén