Welcome to e-include, the e-journal of Inclusion Europe.
The European Anti-Poverty Network
In short, we call it EAPN.
EAPN says that having a good job is very important.
EAPN made a video to show the problems some
The video also shows good examples of people
The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) organised the screening of a film in Brussels last week. The film is entitled Pathways to Work: Unlocking a door to Active Inclusion and is part of the work done by the EAPN to foment the implementation of the European active inclusion strategy.
This year, 2012 the European Commission is planning to issue a Communication on the implementation of the European Commission's recommendation on active inclusion as part of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion efforts.
With this video, the EAPN wants to represent the quest for employment of the most vulnerable groups in society such as single parents, older workers, people who are not represented by trade associations, victims of abuse or people with disabilities. The video is a way to show, through examples of good and bad practices, the position in which the implementation of the active inclusion strategy finds itself.
Pathways to Work
The video features a good and a bad example of active inclusion in four different countries: Lithuania, Bulgaria, Scotland and Belgium. Each of the persons in the video come from a situation that makes them different from others and makes it harder to find a job. Whether they are older in debt, have a disability or have suffered abuse it is not their fault they cannot find a job. The video examines which activation policies play a positive role in the search of employment and which are negative.
The video concludes that what hampers the path to active inclusion is:
- Harsh sanctions on benefits: for example the Employment and Support Allowance in Scotland gives finances depending on what you can or cannot do.
- Unrealistic conditionality: employers do not take into consideration the personal situation of people making it hard for people in certain situations, such as single parents or people with severe disabilities to work under certain conditions.
- Absence of a holistic approach: getting a person a job is not enough, it is important to make sure that person has the support and follow-up necessary to make sure their situation is improving.
- Disrespect and stigmatisation: unemployment is often viewed as a sign of laziness or weakness when in reality, the person would give anything to find a job.
Positive activation policies are:
- Adequate minimum income for an adequate life
- Universal access to affordable, quality services
- Personalised counselling: This is a holistic approach where it is not only important to find a job with a living wage. The job has to cater to the person's potential and capabilities. Also the person should be helped in any way necessary to regain their self-respect with access to quality services.
The conclusion from these cases is that employment is not just a job. Employment has to be approached from a social viewpoint. The circumstances surrounding the people in the video have made them vulnerable to fall of the margins of any employment strategy that is not based on a holistic approach of the individual.
In the discussion following the showcase of the video, it was noted that the conclusions drawn from the examples equal the pillars on which the active inclusion strategy of the European Commission is based.
EAPN chose panellist from three of the countries examined on the video, Lithuania, Scotland and Bulgaria and the moderator was Katherine Duffy from EAPN UK.
Each of the panellists described in more general terms the employment situation in their respective countries. Mr. Douhomir Minev, President of EAPN Bulgaria, was very critical of the employment situation in his country. He said that to many Bulgarians the only solution to unemployment and extreme poverty is immigration. On the other hand Mr Serafin Pazos Vidal, representative of the Convention of Scottish Local authorities, said that in Scotland there are a lot of different local authorities and support groups that can help an individual more thoroughly. However, people run the risk of being handed over from one local body to the next which will make an in-depth follow-up of the person more difficult. Moreover he said in Scotland there are still big poverty pockets especially in cities. He also warned that good practices are not always interchangeable and what works in a country might not work in another.
The discussion was followed by a debate with the audience, from which it was concluded that while the framework at European Level regarding employment and social policies is good, it still needs a lot of work in the implementation stage.
This strategy is not only about employment. It is about the right to be treated as a person with inherent value, potential and capabilities; not just an instrument of the economy. In the video it is easy to see how a personal approach, accommodating a person’s needs and circumstances, works. This is necessary to achieve active inclusion.
Active Inclusion is an integrated strategy. It is built on three interconnected but independent pillars;
- adequate income support: setting an adequate minimum income
- access to quality service: support for social and economic participation in the community
- support into quality jobs through inclusive labour markets: this means integration, equality and sustainable jobs.