Putting the fight against poverty at the heart of the European Parliament elections, 2014

19 European Parliament election candidates from Ireland join Europe-wide call for an EU Anti Poverty Strategy: see press release

Read the special edition of the EAPN Ireland Review on the elections – explaining the role of the Parliament, the issues and candidates in the election

Follow the EAPN (Europe) blog on the campaign

Following a successful series of meetings between community groups and candidates for the European Parliament, EAPN Ireland, the Irish network of the European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN), today announced that the EAPN’s demand for an explicit anti-poverty strategy and monitoring by people experiencing poverty has so far been been endorsed by 19 candidates from all of the political parties contesting the election. This includes eight of the eleven outgoing MEPs seeking e-election.

They join over 120 leading candidates from France, Italy, Denmark, Spain, the UK, Slovakia, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Luxemburg, Estonia, Greece, Malta, Portugal, Austria and the Netherlands.

The statement reads:

“If elected, I commit to make the fight against poverty, social exclusion and inequality a priority item on the Parliament and EU agenda by defending the development of an explicit European anti-poverty strategy and an annual hearing of people experiencing poverty to monitor its implementation and progress.”
Candidates in Ireland who have signed so far are: Jim Higgins MEP (Fine Gael); Pat The Cope Gallagher MEP and Senator Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail); Emer Costello MEP and Phil Prendergast MEP (Labour); Matt Carthy, Lynn Boylan and Liadh Ni Riada (Sinn Fein); Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party); Eamon Ryan and Grace O’Sullivan (Green Party); Brid Smith (People Before Profit Alliance); Damon Matthew Wise and Donal O’Riordan (Fis Nua); Marian Harkin MEP, Ronan Mullen, Mark Fitzsimons and Nessa Childers MEP (Independents)

Robin Hanan, Director of EAPN Ireland, said:

“With increasing poverty across Europe, much of it the direct result of policies adopted by governments and EU institutions, this initiative needs to be top of the agenda for the new Parliament. As the voice of Europe’s peoples, and with its enhanced powers since the last election, the Parliament must respond to the desperate situation of people who are living in poverty, experiencing unemployment, poorly paid work, homelessness and discrimination.
“We need a strong European anti-poverty strategy and we need to make sure that the voice of people with direct experience of poverty is listened to.”
Barbara Helfferich, Director of EAPN (Europe) said:

“The levels of poverty, social exclusion and inequalities have reached peaks that had never been seen before. The austerity measures have been dismantling welfare states and making people pay for a crisis they did not create. With civil society being largely excluded from the decision-making processes, we understand that people lose faith in the European institutions. And that’s precisely why it is more than ever important to elect people who will make the difference, when the EU is failing on its founding principles of democracy and solidarity that ensured peace and well-being,” said
Despite the European Target on poverty set by the Europe 2020 Strategy to lift 20 million people out of poverty by 2020, statistics show increases in poverty rates. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of people at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion in the EU increased by 3.7 million (+0.7%), reaching the number of 121.2 million people in 2011 (24.3 % of the entire population). In 2012, 124.5 million people (24.8 %) at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Since 2010, 6 million more people are living in or at risk of poverty in the EU.

Picture: Candidates for the European Parliament elections in the Dublin Constituency sign the EAPN Pledge with EAPN Ireland Chairperson Philip O’Connor: Emer Costello MEP, Labour (S and D), Paul Murphy MEP, Socialist Party (GUE/NGL), Eamon Ryan, Green, Brid Smith, People Before Profit, Nessa Childers MEP, Independent.

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