ERGO Network responds to the European Commission call for evidence on poverty and inequality
As announced in the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights (2021), the European Commission plans to release, in 2022, a communication on poverty and inequality, aimed at providing guidance for Member States on optimising their use of distributional impact assessments, so that they can better identify the expected effect of reforms and investments on the income of different groups. A call for evidence was launched, in order to gather stakeholder views.
ERGO Network welcomes the recognition that income inequality has increased in the European Union since 2008, and agrees that including ex-ante distributional impact assessments should be prioritised by Member States, with a view to mainstreaming the fight against poverty and inequality in other policy fields. We further appreciate the ambition to look at the disposable income of different groups of the population, as not everybody is impacted in the same way.
Most Roma in Europe experience both relative and absolute levels of poverty and social exclusion, with rates multiple times higher than those for non-Roma. In many Member States, social protection is set at inadequate levels which don’t allow for dignified lives. Getting serious about fighting poverty means stepping up public investment in social infrastructure, which should be financed through progressive taxation, staying true to a redistribution approach and mitigating social polarisation. Enacting an EU Framework Directive on Minimum Income, based on art 153, 1, h TFEU, would be an essential first step in tackling income inequality.
Distributional impact assessments implemented by Member States should be mindful of deeply-rooted, widespread discrimination as a key cause of inequality in accessing rights, resources, and services. The upcoming Commission communication must enshrine strong synergies with the EU Strategic Framework for Roma Equality, Participation and Inclusion, where reducing Roma poverty is an explicit cross-cutting priority. It is crucial that the European Commission closely monitors the implementation of distributional impact assessments by Member States, including in the framework of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure and the European Semester and the National Recovery and Resilience Plans.
ERGO Network and its national members stand ready to provide policy input and direct grassroot evidence to inform the shaping of the Commission communication, as well as the subsequent development and reinforcing of distributional impact assessments at national level, with a view to ensure that Roma-specific concerns and the link with antigypsyism are taken on board in a comprehensive way.
- Read our full input to the call for evidence here!
For more information on ERGO Network’s engagement with Roma poverty and social exclusion, as well as with the European Pillar of Social Rights, please contact Senior Policy Adviser Amana Ferro.