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Fighting Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe

Employment and Social policy
Date: Thursday, 24 May 2018 09:15 - 16:30

Venue: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre  |  City: Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium

In the context of growing consumption and expanding economy, poverty, accompanied by social division, is an important problem in our societies. It is estimated that the 8 richest men of the planet own the same wealth as a half of the world population (Oxfam). Moreover, according to Eurostat, one out of four European is exposed to the risk of poverty. A very alarming fact is that 26.4% of children are in the situation of precarity. Under these circumstances, the European Union’s objective to lift 20 million people out of poverty by 2020 seems crucial.

The issues of poverty and social inclusion were addressed in November 2017 by the EU Heads of State during a Social Summit, the first of its kind in 20 years. While this long break shows a lack of engagement to address these topics at the very top level, the meeting sent a positive signal, since it also saw the official proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, aiming to ensure more equality and better protection of EU citizens' social rights. Other important initiatives such as the OMC (Open Method of Coordination for social protection), the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, European Social Fund, the Employment and Social Innovation programme and Social Investment Package are also contributing to the goals of Europe 2020 Strategy. The priority of this Strategy is to reduce poverty by 25%. In parallel, the Commission currently has 16 active partnership agreements with non-governmental organisations, supporting them with operating grants to pursue relevant projects.

National divisions hinder the efforts at the European level. Political actors still do not have a common agreement on the definitions and criteria of poverty. The fight against poverty is a national competence, as poverty itself results from the interaction of policies in different sectors, such as employment, taxation system and education. Finding the right balance between the partners and their competences, collecting all the necessary data and establishing common guidelines seems to be key to advance on the European level. Ensuring that all social groups are included and that the potential of both businesses and public institutions is fully employed to fight the diverse faces of poverty remains an important task for national leaders.

This timely symposium will review policy actions taken against poverty in the EU. Delegates will have an opportunity to analyse the first developments of the European Pillar of Social Rights and reflect on everyone’s role in contributing in it and other similar initiatives. Participants will hold debates over the definition of poverty, assess possible solutions to boost social inclusion and share best practice from local initiatives.

Delegates Will:

Examine the European legislation and initiatives aiming to fight poverty
Assess good practice and review lessons learned from local initiatives
Reflect on the challenges of social inclusion and consider possible solutions on different levels
Discuss the role of the public and private sector in the fight against poverty
Analyse the pros and cons of minimum wages
Gain insights into national and local policies to improve the quality of life
Learn about Social Business benefits and opportunities
Identify the vulnerable groups exposed to the risks of poverty and the ways to support them
Debate the best ways of cooperation between international social stakeholders

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All Dates


  • Thursday, 24 May 2018 09:15 - 16:30

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