The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias, expressed his full support for the European Platform against poverty and social exclusion to act as a forum for consultation on the forthcoming Social Investment Package of the European Commission, in a speech delivered today, December 5. Addressing the 2nd Convention of the Platform against poverty and social exclusion, organised by the Cyprus Presidency and the European Commission between December 5 – 7 in Brussels, President Christofias stressed that the obligation to apportion the burden of the crisis equitably and to protect the financially and socially vulnerable groups was a moral and political necessity. This approach is utmost for the successful implementation of “Europe 2020” Strategy and is fully in line with the Cyprus Presidency’s overarching priority to work towards a “Better Europe”.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Cyprus’ Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Ms. Sotiroula Charalambous, President Christofias, noted that the strict austerity policies implemented to address the crisis, are not simply proving incapable of resolving the problems, but have exacerbated them.
No to “socialising losses and privatising profits”
“Austerity policies alone lead to the dismantlement of the welfare state and strangle growth. The economy and sustainable development should serve society and the chosen approach cannot be ‘socializing losses and privatizing profits’. We cannot stand idly by while a large section of the European population is led to social exclusion and reduced to poverty”, said President Christofias.
The European Platform for combating poverty and social exclusion, was established in 2010 and is an integrated part of the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth determines. The Platform determines the actions for the support of the member-states to achieve the objective of the EU to reduce poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million people by 2020. In order to achieve this, it is working towards safeguarding, developing and adapting human capital with the target of reducing poverty and creating growth, cohesion and welfare,
This year’s event marks the second Annual Convention of the Platform and is organised by the Commission in partnership with the Cyprus Presidency.
In his address, President Christofias also noted that in times of economic recession, it is particularly important to develop an adaptable, dynamic and modern social flank of the EU, which will moderate changes in our societies and economies and enhance social cohesion. Social protection and social services must be regarded as useful economic stabilisers and their efficiency and effectiveness must be strengthened, said the President of the Republic.
Emphasis to promoting growth and job creation
Referring to the Compact for Growth and Employment agreed by the European Council in June 2012, on which the Heads of State or Government express their determination to stimulate smart, sustainable, inclusive, resource-efficient and job-creating growth, in the context of the |Europe 2020” Strategy, the President noted that this approach is fully in line with the Cyprus Presidency’s overarching priority to work towards a “Better Europe”. The way towards a “Better Europe” is to give emphasis to promoting growth and job creation, in parallel with solidarity and social cohesion.
“These aims are particularly relevant in view of the economic crisis. Without placing emphasis on both growth and combatting poverty, we will not achieve the goal of a competitive Europe of innovation, a Europe of solidarity and cohesion, a Europe for all”, Mr Christofias said.
“We strongly believe that the success of the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy depends on the active involvement of all sections of society. This is why a key priority of the Cyprus Presidency is the strengthening of the participatory processes and the involvement of NGOs, local authorities and the social partners in the implementation of the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’, especially as regards the employment and poverty targets. Civil society must work in partnership with governments in order to conceptualize and implement successful reforms that deal effectively with the social consequences of the crisis. This is why I fully support the initiative to provide, through this Convention, a forum for consultation on the forthcoming Social Investment Package of the European Commission”, the President concluded.