This event was organized on the 15th and 16th November by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with the support of the European Commission, the Slovakian presidency of the Council of the European Union and the EAPN Fund. Francesca Centola and Claire Champeix represented Eurocarers. Around 200 participants participated in this event, including people experiencing poverty from all over Europe, decision makers and officials from the EU and national levels, researchers and activists. The objectives of the 2016 European Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty were to bring forward the views and perspectives of people experiencing poverty from different European countries on what is meaningful participation and how it can be achieved, and to debate on how the European Social of Social Rights can enhance participation at national and European level. The event was introduced by Bratislav Ondruš, State Secretary from Slovakia, who stated that “the future of EU integration is deeply depending on how we will fight poverty”. At the end of the event, participants gathered for a collective action in front of the Commission’s Office and handed over messages to Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, who was received them personally and insisted that “it is essential to hear the voices of People Experiencing Poverty to fight inequality and poverty” .
Claire was asked to facilitate a workshop gathering delegations from France, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Sweden, and the UK, who met for three sessions during the event. This was a valuable opportunity to present Eurocarers’ organisation and activities, and exchange on the mechanisms that contribute to push informal carers on the fringes of our society in all the countries represented. The Social Pillar was recognized to be a positive approach from the side of the Commission, that would need to be complemented by a more structured process of participation including of informal carers if it is to effectively deliver a Social Europe. See more information on the website https://voicesofpoverty-eu.net/ and on twitter (#2016PEP).