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The European Commission proposal on the European Year of Citizens 2013 lacks focus on the poor and socially excluded

Date

10 Jan 2013

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

10 January 2013 -  “With more than 120 million citizens living at risk of poverty and social exclusion, a European Year dedicated to citizens that does not involve everyone would be a mistake,” says Jorge Nuño Mayer, Caritas Europa Secretary General

 

Today is the official launch of the European Year of Citizens 2013. Caritas Europa welcomes this initiative which should help in promoting citizen’s rights and in focusing political attention on this important area. However, Caritas Europa believes that the European Commission's proposal for the European Year of Citizens is largely concerned with the aim of promoting the mobility of workers in the EU – an economic policy objective - rather than truly empowering all European citizens, and ensuring that they understand and make use of their rights. 

 

“Caritas Europa believes that an inclusive and socially aware European Year of Citizens 2013 can in the long term contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion. This is an immense challenge, considering that the number of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion in Europe is growing. The European Commission cannot expect to successfully run a campaign focused on citizens without taking into account the millions of citizens living at risk of poverty and social exclusion,” says Caritas Europa's Secretary General, Jorge Nuño Mayer.

 

According to Caritas Europa's Social Policy Officer, Déirdre de Búrca, 24% or 120 million citizens of the European Union were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2011 (Eurostat Report December 2012) . “This is almost 1% point higher than in 2010” says Ms de Búrca. “Information from the services delivered by our member organisations across Europe indicate that these figures will be even higher for 2012, and no positive development is expected for 2013. Behind these figures are millions of citizens that have absolutely no chance to become fully aware of, or to use their rights as EU citizens if the European Union does not target them specifically,” 

 

In order to make the European Year of Citizens a true success, Caritas Europa calls on the European Commission to 1) ensure that citizens´ rights are not only understood in terms of mobility and consumers' right but also include civil, political and social rights; and 2) give citizens experiencing poverty and social exclusion opportunities to identify for themselves the obstacles that prevent them from fully exercising their citizens’ rights.  

 

For more information, please contact:

Déirdre de Búrca

Advocacy and Policy Officer for Social Policy

+32 (0)2 235 26 51
ddeburca@caritas-europa.org

 

For media relations
Thorfinnur Omarsson
Communication Officer
+32 (0)473 34 13 93
tomarsson@caritas-europa.org

 

Notes to editors :

1)       Link to Eurostat latest report on poverty and social exclusion, 171/2012 - 3 December 2012: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/3-03122012-AP/EN/3-03122012-AP-EN.PDF

2)      Caritas Europa is the umbrella organisation of the European netwok of 49 Caritas member organisations, working in 46 European countries. Guided by a deep belief in the inviolable dignity of the human person, Caritas Europa has a heartfelt commitment to analyse and fight poverty and social exclusion.  http://www.caritas-europ

 

 

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