The EURoma Network (though its Technical Secretariat) participated in the fourth edition of the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth ‘The future of Social Europe post 2020’, which was organised by the European Commission on 20 May in Brussels. The Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth is an action-oriented platform bringing together civil society organisations, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders at European and national level to discuss how to achieve inclusive growth. This year’s event counted on the participation of representatives of the current Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, representatives of the European Commission and European platforms.
This is a key moment for the EU since next year the Europe 2020 Strategy is coming to an end, and the European Pillar of Social Rights, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 (which is currently under negotiation) will provide the framework for the work of the Union on social and economic inclusion in the decade ahead.
In this context, it is very necessary to debate on how the European Union can strengthen its social dimension and for this, it is essential to articulate a political, institutional and financial structure that will make it possible to continue advancing in the pursue of true equality for all people, without leaving anyone unprotected or behind.
The Convention was opened by Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen, who stressed the importance for the next Commission to make sure that all the progress achieved is preserved. The Commissioner also emphasised that the Convention is a privileged space to listen to key stakeholders, improve our societies and advance in the guarantee of equal rights.
While the European Commission referred to some data showing improvements in terms of equality and poverty reduction, civil society representatives stressed the situations of special vulnerability and extreme poverty that millions of people experience (including children) in all European countries.
As EURoma, we put the focus on the specific situation of the Roma population, who, despite progress made in recent years, continues to experience higher levels of inequality than the general population, which is why it is necessary to promote public policies and measures that guarantee equal opportunities and combat discrimination. ESI Funds (mainly ESF but also ERDF) can certainly contribute to promote such social change and invest with a long-term perspective on those areas that are key for promoting equality of Roma (education, employment, housing, health, non-discrimination…). We also emphasised the importance of improving existing European instruments and aligning them with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
For further information, see dedicated website of the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2019