European Anti-Poverty Network’s annual Policy conference: Social Protection for All! How can the Social Pillar and SDGs build stronger welfare states?

5 July |  Crowne Plaza hotel, rue Gineste 3, 1210 Brussels, Belgium

The conference will be an opportunity to exchange together on the following questions:

  • What is Social Protection for all?
  • How can we ensure that all people, children, adults and older people get right to adequate and equal protection against all life risks?
  • Do we need a new concept of ‘Welfare States’?
  • How can this be achieved ensuring fairer redistribution?

Access to Social Protection and social inclusion is the third chapter of the European Pillar of Social Rights, with social protection specifically quoted in principle 12 “regardless of the type and duration of their employment relationship, workers, and under comparable conditions, the self-employed, have the right to social protection”. It is now a key element of the Commission’s new Social Fairness Package, with a proposal for a Council Recommendation to improve access to social protection, which will attempt to ensure that all ‘workers’ get access to ‘social protection’, including those currently categorized as ‘self-employed’. Principle 14 on ‘Minimum Income’, aims to provide a basic social assistance safety net for those who fall outside the ‘social protection’ net and is currently a key focus on EAPN’s work coordinating the EMIN project and bus awareness raising journey.

However, the ‘definition’ of social protection, currently at EU level, is limited to only those who are in employment, and ‘pay’ for coverage through work-based contributions. Those who fall outside receive only basic income support safety nets (minimum income). Such an approach fails to ensure equal rights to social protection, at all ages and to all groups, regardless of their employment status, risking increasing poverty and inequality, and undermining a more inclusive and sustainable development model.

The SDGs and in particular the ILO’s Social Protection Floor takes a broader definition on social protection as “basic social security guarantees which secure protection aimed at preventing or alleviating poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion’’ aiming to cover all groups for income security and access to public health and other services, through the life cycle. In the context of the future of work carrying major threats of unemployment and/or increasingly precarious work, an employment contributions model will increasingly leave more people behind and widen the inequality gap. A new concept of the welfare state and financing is needed, and this is what we will explore in our conference.

It aims to:

  • Present why social protection for all is key, including input from people experiencing poverty;
  • Discuss the challenges and promising practices from the national level;
  • Get feedback & debate on access to social protection and guaranteed minimum income with the European Commission, European Parliament, Council & Civil Society partners;
  • Give special attention to the financing and concept of Welfare states with input from the ILO and other Civil Society Organisations.

More information.