Visit of UN Special Rapporteur De Schutter to the EU institutions and civil society

The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Olivier De Schutter is undertaking an official mission to the EU institutions to examine the impact of European Union policies on the eradication of poverty. Due to the current public health crisis, this mission is taking place between November 25 and January 29 and involves online and offline meetings with a variety of actors, including EU institutions (European Commission, Council of the EU, Members of the European Parliament, representatives of the European Central Bank, members of the Eurogroup and Member State representatives), civil society organisations and individuals affected by poverty. This visit focuses on the relationship between the internal market and poverty as well as on the impacts of socio-economic governance and associated macroeconomic policies targeting poverty, inequality and social exclusion in the EU.

During his mission to the EU, the Special Rapporteur is holding a series of roundtable discussions with civil society organisations with a view to gathering perspectives on the impact of EU-level policies on poverty across the region. The goal of these discussions is to provide the Special Rapporteur with a variety of viewpoints related to the role of EU-level policy instruments in addressing poverty, inequality, and social exclusion, and to discuss what challenges and opportunities lie ahead.

SOLIDAR participated in the consultation along with the Social Platform and some members: AGE Platform Europe, Caritas Europa, EAPN, EDF, ENSIE, ERGO Network, Eurochild, Eurodiaconia, European Youth Forum, European Women’s Lobby, IFSW, Make Mothers Matter and PICUM.

The main priorities of the Special Rapporteur for this mission are: 

  • The European Pillar of Social Rights and its priority areas, including the Action Plan, 
  • The social scoreboard, poverty-related indicators, and access to social protection; 
  • The European Semester, including the Recovery and Resilience Facility 
  • The European Green Deal and the challenges and opportunities for how to integrate the social dimension.

Press Conference on 29 January 2021

After this two-month mission to the European Union the UN Special Rapporteur presented his preliminary findings in a press conference. He identified the main weaknesses of the EU’s approach to tackle extreme poverty, including the fiscal competition between Member States, Member States’ reluctance to increase wages and employers’ contributions to social security, as well as the limitations imposed by the Stability and Growth Pact. Moreover, he reported on the limited consultations with civil society concerning the national Resilience and Recovery Plans and the lack of tools to measure and tackle poverty in the framework of the above-mentioned Plans.

You can watch the entire press conference: