The European Union (EU) and its member states are strongly committed to the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
The EU Commission has designated 2010 as the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. This reaffirms and strengthens the commitment for the EU, set out in the Lisbon Strategy, to make “a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty”.
“It was one day in May on my way home from work that I saw, for the first time, a billboard advertising ‘2010 The European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion’. I was rather disturbed by that fact that it had taken me five months to wake up and become aware of such a key issue! This led me to explore further articles and comments written on the subject. The following is one such article that is worth reading and the website from which it was taken is worth exploring on issues relating to poverty and exclusion.”
The following is taken from ‘European Anti Poverty Network Ireland Towards a Social Europe’
‘Ireland is going through a period of transformational change. A sudden and deep recession, a crisis-ridden financial system and sky-rocketing unemployment have shaken the nation’s confidence, and shattered long-held certainties at the core of our economic and social models. Active exclusion of the marginalised and disenfranchised members of our society has become deeply entrenched at the highest levels of government and policy-making. Similarly, certainty with regard to our place in Europe has given way to suspicion, disenchantment and a protracted period of soul-searching.
Taken together, these forces indicate a society in crisis; unsure of our economic and social security, and uneasy about our place in Europe and the world. But we are not alone in facing this crisis. Serious questions about the nature of European societies are emerging, and we must quickly find answers and implement solutions.
We are working for a Social Europe free of poverty and social exclusion with access to economic, social and cultural rights for all.
To achieve this we seek:
- A fair distribution of wealth,
- Accessible quality employment,
- High levels of social protection,
- An end to discrimination
- The meaningful participation -through the organisations in which they participate- of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion.
The European Union is an imperfect model, but if it is utilised to its full potential, it too can be transformed within the uncertain parameters of this shared crisis; a transformational EU that places social inclusion and the reduction of poverty firmly at the top of the agenda.’
“Poverty is often associated with developing countries, where a lack of food and clean water can often be a daily challenge. Europe is also affected by poverty and social exclusion. It may not be as severe, but is nonetheless unacceptable. Poverty and exclusion of one individual amounts to the poverty of society as a whole. Europe can only be strong if each individual’s potential is realised.
There is no miracle solution to put an end to poverty and social exclusion. However, one thing is sure: we cannot win the fight without you. The time is ripe to renew our commitment to solidarity, social justice and greater inclusion. The time is ripe for the 2010 European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion.”