Europe must not shirk its social responsibilities

Facing the social consequences of the economic crisis in their regions and cities, the members of the CoR's ECOS commission yesterday launched a debate on what can be done by the EU, Member States and local and regional authorities to combat insecurity. Using its treaty-given right of initiative, the Committee of the Regions is therefore placing discussion of the social consequences of the economic crisis on the European Union's agenda.

 

2010 is European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion and the ECOS commission is making this topic a priority, with an opinion on social exclusion and homelessness in the EU, to be complemented in June by a CoR-hosted forum bringing together stakeholders from the institutions and relevant associations. Tore Hult, vice-president of the municipal council of Alingsås (SE/PES), will be rapporteur for a CoR own-initiative opinion on combating social exclusion and reintegrating homeless people. "The economic situation is not the most important factor affecting homelessness. The means available from the EU's various funds cannot satisfy the need at regional and local level for financial resources to reduce homelessness in the long term. Local authorities therefore depend on the procedures chosen by their particular Member State for financing various types of measure."

The rapporteur also stresses that there are many initiatives in the Member States, but no structure for collecting examples and disseminating them more widely: "many tiers of political organisation have responsibilities in this area, it is simply a matter of coordinating initiatives at the various local, regional, national and EU levels".

 

To bring this experience to the fore, the Committee of the Regions is hosting a forum on 8 June, on the fight against social exclusion and poverty, bringing together the institutional players and associations concerned. The ECOS commission's meeting away from Brussels on 21 and 22 June in Kavala, Greece, will also include a seminar on the subject. The opinion is scheduled to be adopted at the CoR plenary session on 6 and 7 October.


The ECOS Commission comprises 114 members of regional and local authorities from the EU's twenty-seven Member States. It is chaired by Arnoldas Abramavičius (LT/EPP), district major and member of the municipal council of Zarasai. The next ECOS Commission meeting will be held in Brussels on 21 April 2010.


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