- Conference Conclusion

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Mr Thorbjřrn Jagland and the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Mr László Andor, opened the conference to give a fresh, and participatory vision to the fight against poverty and inequality in today’s Europe.

- Poverty is a violation of human rights and the situation of Roma in many countries is scandalous: poverty means that Roma children are on the streets rather in school and this is not a result of the economic crisis, said Thorbjřrn Jagland

Mr László Andor pointed out that some EU member states have better social outcomes yet with similar budgets to others. He referred to the Social Investment Package (SIP) released on 20 February having affordable childcare, prevention of early school leaving, quality training and accessible healthcare as key elements. He also mentioned the release of the Child Poverty Recommendations as part of the SIP which would help fight child poverty and thus avoid an intergenerational poverty gap.

- Aims of the conference

  • To analyse the current situation and identify problems / obstacles to the fight against poverty and inequalities (limits of legal and democratic mechanisms to ensure the voices of people living in poverty is taken into account, changes in redistribution policies, etc.) ;
  • To formulate concrete proposals to progress the fight against poverty, taking into account the need to include the voice of each person, to better utilise and share resources in order to avoid waste and to ensure more equal access to them, in a perspective of well-being for all;
  • Exchange and share experiences, knowledge and practices to put into effect innovative actions to tackle poverty and inequalities, based on the concepts of common goods, shared responsibility and avoiding the wastage of resources.

EPHA participated in the workshop examining, how human rights should be implemented to protect people from poverty

Objectives: The workshop focused on how citizens and local communities have been affected and have reacted to this crisis and to the worsening of their living conditions. It looked at the proposals and means that can be adopted to re-establish social justice in the budgetary policies.


- As regards the legal framework, the European Convention of Human Rights is very fragmented and does not really use combined approach to address poverty. We need a more consistent approach.

- The 3 pillars of the Council of Europe are the rule of law, human rights. and democracy . We should also stress the social dimension which is crucial, reinforced by the European Social Charter

- Human rights oblige the state to take actions in respect of social rights. However, rights are not enforceable if the margin of appreciation of the states is too large.

- Conditionality can breach the principle of universality of Human Rights

- The effectiveness of the EU anti-discrimination legislation and the National Roma Integration strategies will depend on their implementation in practice

- Commissioner László Andor’s speech Fighting poverty and preserving democracy through social investment]’

- Conference’s key messages

Poverty, uncertainty and inequality are on the rise in all European countries and have been reinforced by the crisis. These negative factors not only weaken the social cohesion of European societies but they also contribute to violation of human rights, including social as well as civil and political rights, and question the functioning of democracy.

To be effective, the fight against poverty cannot be limited to targeted and conditional measures.

It must take into account the relationships and interdependencies existing in society to ease the sharing of social responsibilities and ensure equal access to resources. This also implies the avoidance of waste.

Launched publications:

  • The Guide “Living in dignity in the XXIst Century: Poverty and Inequalities, paradoxes in Societies of Rights and Democracy?” - Launch of the guide
  • The executive summary of the guide is availalble here

-* Trends in Social Cohesion, No. 25 – “Redefining and combating poverty, Human rights, democracy and common goods in today’s Europe”. - the online bookstore is available here

Related EPHA articles

- Redefining and combating poverty - human rights, democracy and common goods in today’s Europe

- [Report portrait] The Impact of the Crisis on Civil Society Organisations in the EU – Risks & Opportunities

- European Commission’s Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion - the Child Poverty dimension

- Children and Their Connection with Nature

- [Press Release] Child poverty is not the problem itself - It is a symptom

- [Press Release] Economic policies must address the real impact of crisis on people living in Europe

- EPHA publishes Policy Recommendations on Child Poverty, Health and Well-being

- EPHA analysis of the Commission’s proposal for a new Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived

- **Save the date** From Rhetoric to Action – Tackling Child Poverty and Promoting Children’s Health and Well-being in the EU

- EPHA writes Open Letter to EPSCO Council to strengthen children’s health dimension of the draft Council conclusions on Child Poverty

- Civil society welcomes EU commitment to child well-being

Last modified on April 11 2013.