No Return to ‘boom and bust’ Economics says EAPN Ireland

Dublin, Thursday February 18th, 2010: In this, the European Year for combating Poverty and Social exclusion, the EU needs to learn from its mistakes and adapt policies to serve society not just economics, otherwise it risks slipping into irrelevance and losing the battle for the hearts and minds of its citizens, according to Anna Visser, Director of the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland.

“All over Europe, people are coming together to say that they don’t want a return to the obsessive focus on growth, or to the economics of boom and bust. Grassroots movements are organising and demanding innovative and sustainable solutions to the crisis. Solutions like a Robin Hood tax on speculative banking; a High Pay Commission to tackle inequality, and a standard of minimum income to raise millions of people and children in Europe above the poverty line and towards a better life,” she said.

Ms. Visser made the comments in her opening address to over 250 delegates attending the EAPN international conference on tackling poverty in Ireland and Europe entitled ‘Building Social Europe – from crisis to opportunity’ which is being held today (Friday) at Croke Park, Dublin.

She continued, “The European Union is losing the fight against poverty and must reassert itself as a progressive force for social and economic change.  It is losing the battle for hearts and minds and has forgotten Jean Monnet’s famous assertion that the Union is about uniting people, not states.”

The EAPN warns that it is time for the European Union to accept that the Growth and Jobs Strategy has not delivered for the 80 million European citizens who live in poverty in one of the richest regions in the world. “According to Eurostat, the European At Risk of Poverty rate has remained more or less static at 16% since 2005; which is hardly an unqualified success,” said Ms. Visser.

“2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion and it represents a unique opportunity for the European Union to reinvent itself and emerge from this shared crisis with a renewed mandate from its citizens and a roadmap to rebuild the European social and economic model.”

The conference brought together speakers, panellists and contributors including Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Mary Hanafin, T.D.; Marie Donnelly, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European Commission; Mary Doyle, Deputy Secretary General, Department of An Taoiseach, Proinsias de Rossa, MEP, and Jerome Vignon, Former Director of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, European Commission.

The conference will set out a vision for a better Europe and for a European project that will reduce and eliminate poverty in the EU over the next ten years.


For More Information & to Arrange Interviews Contact:

Mark Byrne

European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland

22 Great Strand Street

Dublin 1

01-8745737 / 0877587922

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