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Fighting Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe: Promoting an Equal, Open and Inclusive Society

Civil Society
Date: Wednesday, 09 May 2018 10:00 - 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


09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks

Looking into European Initiatives to Fight Poverty and Social Exclusion                     

  • Introducing the European Pillar on Social Rights: an Innovation for Greater Social Inclusion
  • Finding the Balance between Member States’ Competences and EU Aid: Open Method of Coordination for Social Protection and Social Inclusion and Other Examples 
  • Employing European Funds in National Social Affairs
  • Reflecting on the Relevance of the Main Poverty Indicators: Monetary Poverty, Severe Material Deprivation, Very Low Work Intensity 
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11.10 Morning Coffee Break

Unlocking the Economic Industries’ Potential to Promote Social Inclusion 

  • Debating the Efficiency of the Minimum Wage and Possible Alternatives
  • Analysing the Role of Local Authorities to Fight Poverty in their Communities and to Boost the Incentives for Local Economies in this Field
  • Empowering Social Economy Enterprises to Provide Inclusive Employment
  • Promoting a Cross-Sector Approach and Partnerships in Order to Address the Problem on Different Institutional Levels
12:00 Second Round of Discussions
12.30 Networking Lunch

Considering the Demographic Changes as an Important Element of Poverty: Statistics and New Challenges 

  • Measuring the Impact of Migration on Poverty and Homelessness
  • Adapting to the Realities of Ageing Societies: Ensuring Sufficient Economic Coverage in National Budgets
  • Fighting Child Poverty: Prioritising Actions
  • Safeguarding Minorities on the Edge of Social Exclusion
14.00 Third Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

Looking Into the Causes of Poverty and Placing the Problem in a Broader Context  

  • Analysing the Links Between Mental Illnesses, Addictions and Extreme Poverty
  • Reflecting on Different Criteria to Define Poverty in Europe and other Geographical Zones
  • Achieving the Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Eliminating Extreme Poverty
  • Putting together the Efforts of Social Partners:  Opening to International Cooperation and Sharing Best Practice
15.20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:50 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
16.00 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16.30 Symposium Close

** Please note that the programme and speakers are subject to change without notice **

Who Should Attend?

  • Ministries of Employment and Social Affairs
  • Social Services
  • Employment Agencies
  • Youth Organisations
  • Social Funds
  • Training Managers
  • Recruitment Advisers
  • Human Rights Groups
  • Trade Unions
  • Research Institutes
  • Social Innovation Centres
  • National Departments for Social and Family Affairs
  • Social Advisers
  • Voluntary Organisations
  • Local Authorities
  • Employment and Social Inclusion Institutes
  • Labour Economy Research Centres
  • Labour Market Institutes
  • Academics
  • PhD Candidates
  • European Social Organisational Science Consultancies
  • European Employment Associations
  • Social Partners
  • Pension Organisations
  • Associations of Social Enterprises
  • Sheltered Employment and Labour Integration Organisations
  • Physical and Social Rehabilitation Centres
  • Disabled People's Rehabilitation and Employment Unions
  • Vocational Training Centres
  • Innovation and Personal Development Centres
  • Special Employment Unions

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All Dates

  • Wednesday, 09 May 2018 10:00 - 16:30

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