In a common letter CSC and Eurodiaconia have addressed President Barroso to encourage the European Commission to pursue “with strength and transparency” the objective of poverty reduction in Europe.
With the Europe 2020 strategy the European Union has decided in 2010 on five targets which seem to be crucial for the European development in the coming years. These targets cover employment, research, environment, education and poverty. Until 2010 the EU is aiming at raising 20 million people out of poverty. To reach this goal the Member States committed themselves to define every spring in National Reform Programmes how they pursue this target. After that the European Commission assesses these programmes and gives advice in Country Specific Recommendations to the Member States which have to be adopted by the European Council in the summer. During this month the European Commission works on these recommendations.
“We are therefore very concerned, that in the drafting of last year’s National Reform Programmes and the subsequent Country Specific Recommendations little or no priority was given to the headline target of reducing the number of people in or at risk of poverty by 20 million by 2020,” CSC and Eurodiaconia stated in the letter. The Ecumenical organizations demanded from the EU to strengthen the policy against poverty, especially in this time of crisis: “…we ask the European Commission to steer discussions and recommendations at EU level to ensure the implementation of all Europe 2020 targets and priorities by national governments.”
Furthermore CSC and Eurodiaconia highlighted the necessity to involve civil society and social actors in determining the National Reform Programmes. “Reaching the poverty target and ensuring social cohesion will only be possible if a genuine effort is made by national governments to cooperate and engage with stakeholders and take into account their expertise.”