On 29 January, the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) organised an online conference to launch its EU Poverty Watch report 2020. Co-hosted by MEPs Cindy Franssen and Marisa Matias, the meeting included the participation of the International Federation of Social Workers and the presentation of realities and recommendations from EAPN members across Europe. Later, Katarina Ivanković-Knežević, Director “Social affairs” of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion presented the views of the Commission and answered to questions. A space for open discussion was provided.
Departing from the reality of people experiencing poverty and NGOs’ perspectives, the EU 2020 Poverty Watch compiles 28 reports from EAPN member organisations across Europe. With a special focus on the impact of COVID-19 on NGOs and people already facing poverty and social exclusion, the report monitors the key trends on poverty and social exclusion in Europe, raises awareness, and proposes evidence-based recommendations.
Some of the key recommendations to avoid poverty to be supercharged are: to have an ambitious Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and poverty-proof Recovery and Resilience plans, a rights-based new EU anti-poverty strategy with clear targets, including ending extreme poverty and homelessness, and ensuring adequate and sufficient income for everyone – independent of their age or work status – through the adoption of a Framework Directive on Minimum Income that guarantees benefits above the 60% poverty threshold.
During the conference, it was emphasised that the European Union is currently at a turning point. While in 2019, 1 in 5 people were at risk of poverty, in the aftermath of the pandemic poverty is predicted to rise severely. The EU must choose to prioritise the fight against poverty if it is not to allow it to reach unimaginable levels.
For more information on our advocacy work in the area of extreme poverty, please visit our thematic page.