Child poverty and social Europe: from Lisbon to Europe2020Workshop on Child Poverty and Well-Bieng in the European UnionBudapest, 16 June 2010 Antonia Carparelli – Head of Unit E2, European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
The Lisbon strategy: an important impetus to social Europe The social dimension of Europe has progressed less rapidly than the economic, but a significant impetus was given by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000. European Council Conclusion: "The number of people living below the poverty line and in social exclusion in the Union is unacceptable. Steps must be taken to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by setting adequate targets to be agreed by the Council by the end of the year.“ It has taken more than ten years to find an agreement on a European target for poverty reduction. But the last decade was not a period of standstill.
The “Social OMC”: overview • A method of voluntary cooperation based on peer pressure, regular reporting, mutual learning • Main elements • - Political agreement on common objectives • - Definition and construction of common indicators • - Translating the EU objectives into national/regional policies (National Reports on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion) • Common analysis and assessment of the National Reports : Joint Report + supporting document(3-year cycles) • PROGRESS: financial support to promote policy cooperation, good governance and mutual learning.
Main achievements of the Social OMC • The Social OMC has been one of the most important instruments in support • of social development in the EU and in Member States. • Increased awareness and influenced national policy agendas • Fostered the development of evidence-based policies • Helped shaping a shared approach to common challenges • Supported mutual learning and transmission of best practices • Promoted stakeholders involvement and participation • Commission Communication of 2 July 2008 – ‘A renewed commitment to social Europe: Reinforcing the Open Method of Coordination for Social Protection and Social Inclusion’COM(2008)418 as part of the Renewed Social Agenda package
Child poverty: a priority issue within the “Social OMC” The issue of child poverty has been high on the agenda of the Social OMC since its beginning. “Poverty among children is important not only in its own right but also because there is concern that poverty is thereby transmitted from one generation to the next” (Atkinson, 2000) Already in 2002, child poverty is indicated as a key issue in each of the Joint Reports on Social Inclusion. Enlargement further emphasises this priority (conditions of severe child poverty and deprivation in some new MS). The “children rights” agenda receives increasing attention
Key policy developments within the Social OMC - 2006-2008 • 2006 European Council conclusions (March) • Member States are asked “to take necessary measures to rapidly and significantly reduce child poverty, giving all children equal opportunities, regardless of their social background” • 2007 thematic year on child poverty • SPC Report on Child Poverty and Well-Being (adopted in 2008) • Specific reporting by MS on strategies to fight child poverty • Peer Review of the Social Protection Committee • 2008 National Strategy Reports • A key priority in 24 Countries • Many have set quantified targets in relation to child poverty • 2009 European Year against Poverty • Child poverty as a policy priority of the Year • Comprehensive study in view of a new Commission initiative
Main achievements of the “Social OMC”(in the fight against child poverty) • Child poverty has gained importance in national agendas and is now present in most national strategy. For some countries the issue as such had never been on the policy agenda. This also applies to enlargement and neighborhood countries. • Common indicators have been made available and further work is being done (notably on material deprivation and on child well being). The target-setting approach has gained relevance, and has been retained in several MS. • Mutual learning through peer reviews has taken place (e.g.: in the areas of pre-school education) and there is broader understanding of the multidimensional nature of the issue. • Stakeholders involvement in policy making has improved, although in uneven manner across MS.
Three policy priorities: smart growth, sustainable growth, inclusive growth Five headline objectives: Research, Employment Education, Energy, Poverty reduction Seven flagship initiatives to underpin and support the achievements of the objectives, among which a new European Platform against poverty A social dimension “mainstreamed” across various priorities. Europe2020: a renewed political commitment to fight poverty and exclusion
On 7 June the EPSCO Council 7 agreed on the definition of a EU level target for poverty reduction: lifting 20 million of people out of poverty or exclusion by 2020 "Today's agreement is a major breakthrough. For the first time ever, we have a concrete target to reduce those at risk of poverty and exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020. This sends a powerful message about Europe's genuine commitment to visible results for a more just and inclusive Europe." (Commissioner Andor) To understand the importance of this result, it is worth mentioning that already ten years ago the European Council had concluded: The number of people living below the poverty line and in social exclusion in the Union is unacceptable. Steps must be taken to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by setting adequate targets to be agreed by the Council by the end of the year.“ (European Council Conclusion March 2000) The target is expected to be endorsed by the European Council on the 17 of June, together with the other targets of the 2020 strategy The European target for poverty reduction: a major breakthrough
Initial Commission proposal: reducing the number of people at risk of poverty by one fourth by 2020, lifting 20 million of people out of poverty EU level target as agreed in Council Lifting 20 million people out of poverty or exclusion by 2020 Based on 3 existing EU social inclusion indicators: risk-of-poverty, material deprivation, people living in jobless households Mid term review by 2015 A compromise reflecting a broader view of poverty and exclusion
40 Mio peoplematerially deprived 45 Mio peoplein jobless households 120 Million people at risk of poverty or exclusion 80 Mio people at risk of poverty
Objections raised to the poverty reduction target during the negotiations: Poverty is not an issue, it is more about exclusion Subsidiarity, outside EU competences Employment is the best strategy against poverty An underlying - and real - concern: is it feasible? What about public finance constraints? A difficult negotiation
Economic recovery in Europe is being hampered by the sovereign debt crisis. New financial turbulences linked to the debt crisis have required prompt and massive response by euro-area governments. Fiscal consolidation has been stepped up in several countries. After a -4.1% decline in 2009, GDP is expected to increase by a modest 1.2% in 2010 (against 3.2% in the US and 3% in Japan), and there are increasing fears of a “double dip” recession. Unemployment is already above 10% and is expected to stay at that level in 2011. Why was it so controversial? Coping with the impact of the crisis: the economic situation in Europe
Social expenditure (social protection, education and health) represents some 70% of public expenditure in the EU. Social protection benefits - excluding education and health – make up more than 40% of public expenditure. Efforts to curb public deficits and debt are inevitably affecting social expenditure. Therefore, public policies to address poverty and exclusion are facing unprecedented challenges. The social situation is likely to further deteriorate and poverty is likely to increase. The slight augmentation observed in poverty rates between 2007 and 2008 - from 16% to 17% - will certainly become more substantial in 2009-10 (Eurobarometer anticipations) Why was it so controversial? Poverty reduction my be an uphill struggle in the present economic conditions
The presence of a strong social dimension in the EU strategy – including a headline objective for poverty reduction – can help orienting reforms towards higher efficiency and equity in social interventions and welfare reforms. EU action to fight old and new forms of poverty and exclusion can build on the important experience developed over the last decade and on the momentum created by the European Year. The “Platform against poverty”, that the Commission has proposed as a flagship initiative in the Europe2020 strategy can become a tangible expression of EU solidarity towards the most vulnerable. The Platform could be the second, major, “delivery” of the European Year. Why was it so controversial? What Europe can do…
Main objectives to ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion to build on the current European Year against poverty to raise awareness and recognise the fundamental rights of people experiencing poverty to live in dignity Commission’s role To provide a platform for co-operation and mutual learning; to foster commitment by public and private players; and to provide support from the structural funds To design programmes to promote social innovation for the most vulnerable; to fight discrimination; and to develop a new agenda for integration of migrants To undertake an assessment of the adequacy and sustainability of social protection and pension systems, and to identify ways of ensuring better access to health care systems. Member States’ role To promote shared collective and individual responsibility in combating poverty To define and implement measures addressing the specific circumstances of groups at particular risk To deploy their social security systems to ensure adequate income support and access to health care. A European platform against poverty
Spanish Presidency Launching the European Year 2010 Ensuring a strong social dimension in the EU 2020 strategy Agreement on the poverty target People experiencing poverty conference Belgian Presidency Concluding the European Year 2010 Implementation of the 2020 Strategy (national reform strategy, national targets, guidelines) Platform against poverty Pave the way for a major initiative on child poverty Round Table Hungarian Presidency Handling the heritage of the European Year Major initiative on child poverty (a Commission recommendation) Get the Platform up and running People experiencing poverty conference The EU antipoverty strategy from the Spanish to the Hungarian Presidency: