Eapn policy Briefing # 27 September/October 2009 Foreword


EUROPEAN YEAR FOR COMBATING POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION



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2010 EUROPEAN YEAR FOR COMBATING POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION


Contact person in the Secretariat:

Pauline Geoghegan + 32 2 226 58 63 pauline.geoghegan@eapn.eu

EAPN group in charge: EXCO



It is up to you! What you can do

At this stage, National Networks are encouraged to continue national preparations, such as:



  • Familiarise yourselves with the national programme for EY 2010.

  • Dialogue with the National Implementing Body to make sure that NGOs can contribute to and benefit from the opportunities presented by the Year, including access to funding within available within the national programmes.

  • Plan activities for the national focus week in your country, in collaboration with other stakeholders.

  • Identify journalists and other media contacts who would be willing to work with you during 2010

  • Contact the national correspondents of the Commission’s Communications campaign (contact the EAPN secretariat for details)

  • Contact other NGOs to see what are their plans, generate knowledge about the Year and discuss possible common actions.

  • Start planning political outcomes - it is crucial to start defining in advance what your expectations are for the year (such as new law, programme, political commitment, new body?).

  • Start planning participation of people experiencing poverty, which should be a key feature of the Year.

  • Inform yourselves on your national calls for proposals.Try to think of possible projects and contact project promoters: even if projects will be selected through open calls, chances are always higher if planned in advance.

  • It is also possible to start contacting larger institutions (such as media, museums, theatres, schools) to plan other thematic activities, which might be financed from other sources than the more “official” framework for the Year.

  • And finally, do send information on the activities you are preparing for the Year to the EAPN Secretariat, so that other networks can get inspiration from what you are doing.


For information – latest developments



National Implementing Bodies (NIBs) and the national programmes

All member States have appointed their NIBs, which have prepared their national programmes for the European year 2010, have submitted them and been approved by the European Commission, with the exception of Latvia, which has funding problems, and for which a special programme will be organised by the Commission. Most programmes are now available on the Commission website on http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=808&langId=en

The programmes reiterate the challenges presented by the latest National Strategic reports on Poverty and Social exclusion. The detail of activity outlined in the programmes varies to a great extent across the countries, from the very specific (Austria) to more of a framework approach based on the EY objectives, as in Belgium. Similarly, some have defined very clear calendars of activities, events etc (Ireland) and most others still have to detail their activity plans.

Member States’ calls for proposals for EY2010 activities are now available for several countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK), however there may be more that we are not aware of since they are not published on the Commission’s website. There is a wide disparity in deadlines for projects to be submitted, currently ranging from the end of August (August 31st in Austria) to early November (November 6th in France). Start times for projects also vary between countries with some countries naming January 1st for the start of activities, and other postponing this until early March, the date by which funds are expected to be transferred by the Commission. Ostensibly some MS are willing to start in advance of this date.

The programmes for Belgium and Greece specifically mention the need to support Non Governmental/small Organisation activity, and the Belgian programme goes as far as stating that 50% co finance may not necessarily be compulsory in the case of some projects for small NGOs.

Since it seems that the financing contracts between the NIBs and the European Commission will be signed in January 2010, this may mean that the NIBs may only receive the first instalment of funding (80%) in February 2010, and therefore NGOs who manage to secure funding through their national programme may experience delays in payments. The Commission's timeline, as detailed in the Strategic Framework Document, envisages activities commencing in March / April 2010.
If you have any specific concerns in relation to the NIB in your country or the way the Year is taking shape, you can also contact the civil servant responsible for your country in the European Commission Task force for the Year 2010, headed by Anne Degrand-Guillaud in DG Employment Unit E2. Please find the names of the members of the Task Force, and the countries for which they are responsible, as below:


Group 1

Group

Group

Group

Group

Group

Nicole Hubert


Antoine Saint-Denis

Christine Kotarachos

Jevgenija Muhina

Anne Degrand-Guillaud

Elodie Fazi

AT

FR

EL

BG

ES

DK

BE

SE

CY

EE

HU

SK

DE

PL

CZ

FI

IE

IT

LU




NL

LV

MT

NO

SL







LT

UK

IS

RO







PT




LI


European Commission

  • The European Commission is responsible for coordinating and implementing the activities for the Year.

  • The Taskforce for the European Year is headed by Anne Degrand-Guillaud in DG Employment Unit E2, as above.

  • A Consultative Committee including representatives of all the National Implementing Bodies (NIBs) met on 17 April for an information exchange. Two NGO representatives, including EAPN, were invited to participate in part of this meeting, and again on 8 October, when the Committee discussed progress with the NIBs, and the Communications campaign for the European Year.

  • The EAPN Secretariat has taken part in two meetings of the EU Stakeholders Expert Group, entailing representation from EU level NGOs, regional and local authorities, social partners, EU agencies, international organisations, foundations and think tanks, on 3 March and on 17 September 2009. The last meeting focused mainly on the Communications strategy for 2010, as described below.


The European Commission has presented their preliminary plans for the year. The main efforts so far are around the communication strategy. They have also informed us that they are starting discussions on developing the messages for 2010 with members of the Social Protection Committee.
Commission Communication strategy
The European Commission has contracted the media agency, Mostra http://www.mostra.com, to be in charge of the official communication around the Year. The agency will be responsible for creating visibility at national and European level, including creation of posters, setting up of a web site in all languages, creating a network of national journalist to work with for the Year. The agency will also be providing technical support to each of the National Implementation Bodies, providing media crew to cover events, support to create websites, organising press conferences, etc. NGOs are hoping that the national correspondents of the Communications agency will also cooperate with national NGOs to support their activities during the Year.
With the aim of ensuring that the communication strategy gives visibility to the work and perspectives of organisations working on the ground, EAPN has met with the communications agency in July, and took part in the EU year Stakeholders’ meeting on September 27th which concentrated on aspects of the Communications campaign. Topics covered included the communications plan for the European Year, an update on the national programmes and the involvement of stakeholders.
In relation to the latter, an Advisory Board of ten people has been set up in relation to the Communications strategy for the Year, of which eight NGOs (European and national level) and two cities/regions networks. The EY 2010 Steering group agreed a process of nominations to this board, consisting of a mix of policy and communications specialists. Other issues concerned the selection of EY ‘Ambassadors’, the Media conference (programme and participation), journalists’ contacts, and what kind of practical support is available for EY activities. The Advisory Board, which includes two members of the EAPN secretariat and representatives from three EAPN national networks, will meet on October 21st . A link to the Year can be found here.

The main activities planned by the European Commission are:


  • Media event 29 October 2009

Around 400 participants, mainly journalists and media stakeholders, will be invited for a one day conference to reflect and discuss on how poverty is perceived and described, and what role media have in counteracting stereotypes and combating poverty, and what the opportunities are in 2010 in terms of media and visibility.


  • Opening event 21 January 2010 in Madrid (co-organised with the Spanish Presidency). We have not seen any draft programme yet.




  • Journalist competition

The idea is that there will be a national selection and then a European prize for the ‘best’ ones. In the context of the European Commission’s ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination’ Anti Discrimination Campaign’s 2009 Annual award for Journalism, a special award will be made for articles on how discrimination can lead to poverty. EAPN was asked to submit proposals for one person from each national network to take part in the Jury panel for each country. Following contact with the networks, nominees from most national networks were forwarded to the Commission. The European level winners of the 2009 special awards are due to be announced during the EY 2010 Opening event in January 2010. The award for journalists planned for 2010 will be along similar lines as the special award in 2009.


  • Art exhibition

The European Commission is hoping to gather artistic collaborative projects (people experiencing poverty working together with professional artists) from Member State level. The desired result is an exhibition at the closing event of the Year.


  • European Spring focus week 2010 (Idea picked up from EAPN.)

The European Commission has picked up the idea of NGOs to organize EU focus weeks in Spring and Autumn. EAPN has asked the Commission and the NIBs to join and support in the idea of a week or 24 hrs of broadcasting on Poverty during this first week. Moreover, the 9th meeting of People Experiencing Poverty is planned to take place during the spring EU focus week.



  • European Autumn focus week 2010 (Idea picked up from EAPN.)

The week will take place around the International Day against Poverty, 17 October. The annual Round Table , under the Belgian Presidency, will also take place at this time.


  • Closing event (co-organised with the Belgian EU presidency)

The idea is that there will be a political declaration and commitment from the 27 Member States to renew EU level efforts to combat poverty and social exclusion. EAPN and its colleagues within the EY NGO coalition are working to see how to influence this declaration.
The other EU Institutions
At this moment there is little information on what the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, or the Committee of Regions will do for the Year. However, EAPN together with the coalition of NGOs at European level will be seeking support and partnership with all these institutions in order to create visibility and momentum for the Year.

EAPN Activities
EAPN Networks

In many countries our networks have been involved with the NIBs to plan for the Year and to design the national programme. Some networks have already formulated concrete plans of activities while others are awaiting the outcomes of calls for proposals to finalise their plans.
As the plans of EAPN members become more concrete we will gather the information and make sure to disseminate it within our network so that we can get inspiration from each other. As soon as the NGO 2010 web site is up and running, we will publicise national events and activities on this platform.
National Focus weeks
The EAPN national networks, with the exception of the Netherlands, Estonia and Latvia, have indicated the dates for their national focus week (see the calendar below). We are promoting the idea that the NIBs should support activities during this week.
Even though Member States might be asked by the European Commission to organize some kind of activity during the first EU focus week, or for the opening of the Year, there really should be no contradiction in also supporting activities during the national focus week.
EAPN Europe preparations
The EAPN June seminar bringing together key EAPN working groups, focusing on the political legacy for 2010 was an important occasion to shape the EAPN messages and demands for precise political outcomes of the Year – both for the national levels and for the European levels. The June 2009 General Assembly also gave a strong focus on preparation.
EAPN seminars
EAPN will organize three European events during 2010 linked to the European Year

  • Conference on the political legacy for 2010, in Ireland on February 19th 2010

  • Seminar on Globalisation and Migration, in Cyprus on June 12th 2010 (tbc) (linked to the EAPN General Assembly

  • Conference on Minimum Income/Social Standards, in Belgium on September 23-24 2010 (in liaison with the Belgian EU Presidency).


EAPN publications
EAPN will prepare publications to mark the European year: Poverty explainer (already published), Wealth explainer, Adequacy explainer, Stock-taking document, and a new EAPN leaflet. Other plans include a video on good practices combating poverty and social exclusion, a booklet on participation and governance in the OMC, and written portraits and videos for the website.

NGO cooperation at European level
EAPN Europe is continuing to coordinate a broader NGO coalition at European level. The objectives of this coalition are to:

  • build understanding and support for the individual objectives of different networks for the year

  • build as much consensus as possible across the NGO sector on the outcomes of the year

  • drive forward key projects for the year

  • build alliances with other actors to ensure a successful 2010


The ‘NGO Steering group’ that includes 8 European level organisations, meets every month.
A broader NGO Contact Group, involving over 40 EU networks, meets every three months. The key elements and planned activities of the cooperation are:


  • Formulating common political messages and demands for the Year

In addition to individual and more precise demands that each network might be having, we are aiming to have a shared set of political messages that could be supported by a broad coalition of NGOs. These are currently being finalised (October 2009), and and call for


  • an awareness-raising campaign on the structural causes of poverty and the role of the state in the realisation of economic and social rights for all




  • financial investment local, national and EU levels to achieve enhanced dialogue with people in poverty and anti poverty NGOs




  • a strong political legacy from 2010, to include a new overarching and sustainable EU strategy based on fundamental rights, a revitalised EU Social Inclusion strategy which ensures progress on agreed National and EU poverty targets, progress in relation to the accessibility and affordability of services of general interest and a framework directive aimed at achieving real progress on the adequacy and accessibility of minimum income schemes




  • an EU poverty programme and the use of structural funds to underpin EU commitments to fight poverty and social exclusion.

.


  • Supporting our national networks

Giving support and motivation to national level actors to get involved, and ensuring visibility to national level work and actions, in particular around the National Focus Weeks.


  • Developing a shared web site

The initial work has started to create a web platform for the Year that can give visibility to all the NGO activities going on, but also to the situation in each country and the demands for action put forward. The aim is to launch the web site www.endpoverty.eu in October 2009. Contents will include information on the European Year, a section on What is poverty? (statistics, and voices of those experiencing poverty), the coalition and its members, what do we want (joint messages), country pages, a joint calendar of events (national, European, NGO, NIBs), and specific campaigns (such as the EAPN campaign on minimum income.



The aim is that the spring week would focus on raising awareness and giving visibility to the situation of poverty in Europe, through mainly giving visibility to national levels. In order to create a link, the idea is to promote 24hrs (or 12hrs) of broadcasting. We will try to mobilize community media as well as public broadcasting and private press to talk about poverty and social exclusion at the ‘same time’.  
Another idea, still to be developed, is to involve cultural institutions such as schools and libraries, in this awareness-raising activity


  • European Autumn focus week (October)

The aim is to organise activities in Brussels, to create pressure and have an impact on the political outcomes of the Year. In particular we are planning to organize a human ring around the EU institutions during this week, now possibly on October 13th, still to be confirmed.


National networks

National Networks are already getting active around the Year, and many have already been consulted as part of the National Advisory Groups, started defining activities and projects.


National Focus weeks: Almost all national networks have indicated the dates for their national focus week. Some countries are still missing. We are trying to promote the idea that the NIBs should support activities during this week.
Update of the planned National Focus Weeks (October 2009)).


Date

Country

Date

Country

1) Jan 4-10




27) Jul 5-11

Romania

2) Jan 11-17




28) Jul 12-18




3) Jan 18-24




29) Jul 19-25




4) Jan 25- 31




30) Jul 26-Aug 1




5) Feb 1-7




31) Aug 2-8




6) Feb 8-14




32) Aug 9-15




7) Feb 15-21

Ireland

33) Aug 16-21




8) Feb 22-28

Austria

34) Aug 22-28




9) Mar 1-7

France

35) Aug 29- Sep 5

Norway

10) Mar 8-14

Slovenia

36) Sep 6-12




11) Mar 15-21

Luxembourg

37) Sep 13-19

Lithuania

12) Mar 22-28

Hungary

38) Sep 20-26

Belgium

13) Mar 29- Apr 4




39) Sep 27-Oct 3

United Kingdom

14) Apr 5-11

Malta

40) Oct 4-10

Portugal

15) Apr 12-18

Czech Republic

41) Oct 11-17

EU Autumn Focus Week

16) Apr 19-25

Slovakia

42) Oct 18-24

Cyprus

17) Apr 26- May 2




43) Oct 25-31

Sweden

18) May 3-9




44) Nov 1-7

Denmark

19) May 10-16




45) Nov 8-14

Greece

20) May 17-23

Poland

46) Nov 15-21

Italy

21) May 24-30

EU Spring focus week

47) Nov 22-28

Finland

22) May 31-Jun 6

Spain

48) Nov 29-Dec 5




23) Jun 7-13




49) Dec 6-12




24) Jun 14-20




50) Dec 13-19




25) Jun 21-27

Germany

51) Dec 20-26




26) Jun 28- Jul 4

Bulgaria

52) Dec 27-Jan 2





Still to confirm: Netherlands, Estonia and Latvia
The EAPN Executive Committee has agreed that each national network would work towards:

  • The organisation of one national event during their respective focus week (seminar, roundtable, meeting of PEP, direct action, …etc)

  • To produce some basic national information in relation to poverty and social exclusion. In a few weeks we will be fixing a timeline and also providing a template for this providing the more general outline.





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