Brussels, 19 February 2010 - A Caritas Europa delegation met this week with Maciej Popowski, Head of Cabinet of European Parliament (EP) President Jerzy Buzek. Headed by Secretary General
On ‘EU 2020’ Strategy: The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, to which Caritas Europa’s international campaign ‘Zero Poverty Act Now’ is giving an important contribution, coincides with the first year of a new strategic framework for the EU, the ‘EU 2020’ Strategy.
In its response to a recent European Commission (EC) consultation on the topic, Caritas Europa considers the following main points as pivotal to pursue an agenda that puts people first:
- Provide a guaranteed income sufficient for a dignified living;
- Provide equal access for all to quality social and healthcare services;
Maciej Popowski, Head of Cabinet of European Parliament (EP) President Jerzy Buzek
- Strengthen the role of social security systems to ensure a decent standard of living, including decent pensions, allowances for ill people and a basic income for disabled people who do not have sufficient resources for dignified living conditions;
- Ensure that EU and Member States' policies are coherent with the overarching objective of reducing poverty in Europe and developing countries.
During the meeting with M. Popowski Caritas Europa invited the EP to express a strong point of view on the ‘EU 2020’ Strategy, not only before its adoption but also throughout its implementation.
M. Popowski found the Caritas contribution timely and interesting, and confirmed that the EP is ready to play an active role in this debate. In his speech to the recent extraordinary meeting of the European Council, President Buzek set some parameters for the EP discussions, among which: Draw and use lessons learned from the past, notably regarding the effectiveness of the Open Method of Coordination; Take up again the Community method, i.e. the ordinary EU decision-making with the EC and the EP as fundamental players; Situate discussions on the ‘EU2020’ Strategy in parallel with the adoption of the next EU Financial Perspectives 2013-2020.
On migration policy: Social inclusion and social cohesion objectives have to encompass all members of society including those who cannot work, and migrants and third-country nationals.
Following the question of M. Popowski’s cabinet in relation to “mainstreaming”, Caritas Europa explained that indeed integration of migrants in all areas of public life is not only productive but necessary for the social cohesion in our societies, and to combat discrimination and racism, also against EU citizens.
On development policy: Building on the input presented by Caritas Europa, M. Popowski underlined that Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) needs consistent promotion and implementation. While officers within administrations in Member States and EU Institutions are not sufficiently aware of it, much more needs to be done in order to adequately streamline PCD. In view of finding solutions to prevent coherence gaps in policy proposals, M. Popowski suggested that an inter-group on PCD could be created; PCD could be put on the agenda of the conference of Committee chairs; a plenary debate could be organised. These and other possibilities should be explored with the DEV Committee who is responsible in this field.
Defined from both sides as very useful and informative, this meeting encourages Caritas Europa to further engage in continuous and fruitful advocacy work towards the European Parliament.
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