Welcome to e-include, the e-journal of Inclusion Europe.
- Created on Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:12
The European Union has some money to
This money can be used to make things better
The European Union now has to decide
Some organisations want to make sure that the money
Inclusion Europe supports a Joint Statement published by a coalition of European NGOs denouncing the compromise text put forward by the Danish Presidency in the Council discussions on the Structural Funds legislative package for 2014-2020. The text threatens important provisions for social cohesion, economic growth employment and poverty reduction.
The European Disability Forum, European Women Lobby, European Anti-Poverty Network and the·European Foundation Center thus reacted strongly to the proposed text which includes removal of ex-ante conditionalities on non-discrimination, gender equality and disability. Ex-ante conditionalities are provisions which have to be fulfilled by applicants before getting the funds. Regarding disability, the pre-condition to getting the funds is the existence of a mechanism which ensures effective implementation and application of the UN Convention of the rights of persons with disabilities.This includes the elimination of barriers to accessibility. Moreover people with disabilities are often subjected to discrimination and in need of state aid which are also covered in the Commission’s proposal for the Common Provision's Legislation.
18 April 2012 /// Representing a coalition of European NGOs, we call upon the Council of the European Union to uphold the general ex-ante conditionalities regarding non-discrimination, gender equality and disability under Annex IV of the Commission proposal for the Common Provisions Regulation.
We regret to hear that the Danish Presidency has put forward a compromise text on ex-ante conditionalities that removes the general conditionalities dealing with:
- gender equality,
This would be a decision undermining the impact of the Structural Funds on employment, economic and social inclusion. Given the large barriers that women, people with disabilities and people experiencing poverty face in society and especially given the current challenging economic context and the increased incidence of poverty and social exclusion.
The EU 2020 Strategy will not achieve its targets by excluding women and people with disabilities. Vital to its implementation, the EU Structural Funds are capable of bringing the most vulnerable people living in Europe, in particular those at risk of discrimination, poverty and social exclusion, to fully participate to bring the European Union closer to the Europe 2020 goals. It is of utmost importance that the Funds continue to promote social cohesion, on an equal footing to economic and territorial cohesion, across all EU regions.
To remain coherent with the overall EU framework, the Union should step up efforts to eliminate inequalities and promote equality between men and women, as well as to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, at all stages of the implementation of the Structural Funds.
These principles are recognised in:
- Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union,
- Article 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
- Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The European Union and the majority of Member States are also party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 17 have already ratified the Convention while the remaining Member States are in the process of doing so. A decision to remove the general Ex-Ante conditionality will be in breach to these fundamental Treaties.
The increased use of conditionality, backing the proposed 20% ring-fenced for social inclusion and poverty reduction is a major step forward in cohesion policy as it helps to create strong incentives for Member States to deliver Europe 2020 objectives and targets. Non-discrimination, gender equality and equal opportunities for disadvantage groups including women and persons with disabilities are sine qua non conditions for the effective implementation of EU funds.
Therefore the European Women’s Lobby, the European Antipoverty Network, the European Foundation Centre and the European Disability Forum call on:
- Maintain the General Ex-Ante Conditionality in the Annex IV of the proposal On the General regulation COM (2011) 615 final
- To remove the current presidency proposal for article 101.3 to exclude paragraph e) from the from the content of the annual implementation reports
- Backing the proposed 20% ring-fenced for social inclusion and poverty reduction
EDF, the EWL, EAPN, and the EFC will together with their national members denounce the lack of compliance of the European governments with the fundamental rights mentioned in this letter.
European citizens will not accept that important social, economic and employment provisions are either jeopardized or lost in the current Council discussions. We therefore call on the Council to uphold the conditionalities relating to non-discrimination, gender equality and disability.
- Carlotta Besozzi EDF Director
- Cécile Greboval EWL Secretary General
- Fintan Farrell EAPN Director
- Gerry Salole EFC CEO