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EU local and regional authorities contributing to the
Mid-term review of Europe 2020
Assessment of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion flagship initiative
Over two years after its launch, the Committee of the Regions will take stock of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion flagship initiative at a conference to be held on 29 May 2013 in Brussels. This conference will be the fourth in a series of CoR events and monitoring initiatives surrounding the mid-term review of Europe 2020 in 2014. More news on this conference can be found on the CoR website.
By participating in this survey, you will:
ensure that your views are taken into account in the debate held during the conference;
contribute to the fourth CoR Monitoring Report on Europe 2020, to be published in October 2013;
contribute to the CoR's consultative activity in this field over the coming months;
contribute to the mid-term review of Europe 2020 in 2014.
If you wish to participate in this survey, Please complete this questionnaire in any eu language, using the spaces provided, and return it in text format to:
by 22 April 2013
For more information on this survey and for details on how to join the
Europe 2020 Monitoring Platform, go to:
The questionnaire is available on this website in all official languages of the EU
Contributor informationName of sender: / Vintilescu Belciug Adrian
(address, telephone, email) / Buzau strada Unirii bl 11 D-E parter , telefon 0721131905 , email
On behalf of:
(name of local or regional authority) / County Paying and Social Inspection Agency in Buzau (Agenţia Judeţeană de Plăţi şi Inspecţie Socială Buzău)
Type of organisation / City/Town/Municipality Region
Association of local and/or regional authorities
Other (please specify)
Country: / Romania
Member of the EUROPE 2020 Monitoring Platform: / Yes No
Policy challenges and responses at regional and local levelBOX 1 – European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: basic information
This is the first time ever that the objective of reducing poverty has been identified as a quantitative target under an EU strategy. The aim of the Europe 2020 flagship initiative, the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, is "to ensure economic, social and territorial cohesion in order to raise awareness and recognise the fundamental rights of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion, enabling them to live in dignity and take an active part in society" . In particular, it outlines actions to help Member States reach the EU target of reducing poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by the year 2020.
Although the average at-risk-of-poverty-and-social-exclusion rate in the EU has remained relatively stable in recent years, it varies significantly among different age groups and between the Member States. It has significantly increased in a number of countries over the last three to four years: while the rate is under 20% in certain Member States such as Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg, it recently increased to 47% in Bulgaria, 40% in Latvia and 31% in Greece (2011). Furthermore, considerable differences exist between different regions in the Member States.
Today, the inhabitants of around one fifth of the EU's regions are particularly exposed to risks of poverty and social exclusion.
The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion feeds into the Europe 2020 objective of inclusive growth along with the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs flagship initiative. It will also help to achieve the other objectives of smart growth (alongside the Youth on the Move flagship initiative). In particular, it contributes to the objective of achieving the Europe 2020 headline target to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and social exclusion.
The main objectives and lines of action of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion are highlighted in Box 2 below.
EU regional and local governments are responsible for about one fifth of total government expenditure for social protection and services and therefore play an important role in helping to achieve the objectives of the flagship initiative.
You can find more information on the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, as seen from the local and regional authorities' viewpoint, on the European Commission's Europe 2020 portal and in the Committee of the Regions' publication Delivering on the Europe 2020 Strategy. Handbook for Local and Regional Authorities. General information on Europe 2020 can be found on the strategy's official website and on the website of DG Employment..
1)What are the main challenges currently facing your region/city in terms of (i) preventing child poverty (ii) providing decent housing conditions and (iii) combating the social exclusion of vulnerable groups?
i.The increase in unemployment amongst the 30-40 age group has led to a decrease in the standard of living for families with children, particularly single-parent families and families with more than 2 children; as a result there has been an increase in the school drop-out rate, the number of requests to social services for residential or family (fostering) care for children, the number of cases of under-age mothers and the abandonment of children at birth, etc
ii.Financial difficulties for institutions responsible for running "First Home" programmes to provide housing for young married couples and young families who are not able to purchase a home; difficulties providing social housing funds for families whose homes have been repossessed by lending banks or are in various situations of social risk; social support programmes are not carried out for families, except for benefits granted, but which are not of a sufficient amount to secure housing;
iii.Although at county level specialised public institutions or public-private partnerships run social support programmes (social services providing family, residential and day care, provision of social benefits) aimed at vulnerable sections of the population (children, disabled people/children, the unemployed, the elderly, ethnic minorities), they are not able to cover the large number of people at social risk.
2) Please briefly describe what type of policy programmes/actions are being implemented in your city/region in the policy areas covered by the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, highlighting their specific contribution to the above targets (see Box 1).
i.Social support for children and their families through the implementation of projects aimed at the reintegration into the natural family of children benefiting from protection measures within a residential-type structure, with financial support, and the reorganisation of residential centres into "family homes", vocational counselling for young people in care.
To prepare them for independent life and socio-professional integration by means of the Vocational Centre.
Increased access to social services through the diversification of methods for providing information and advice for families in situations of risk;
The implementation of information and advice campaigns in schools for children and young people with a view to preventing school drop-out, child trafficking and juvenile delinquency;
Active involvement of the community in the management of social issues through the development of volunteer networks with the participation of NGOs.
ii.Projects to create two shelters for homeless people.
The involvement of local authorities to facilitate access to utility networks for disadvantaged families, activities involving community volunteers;
iii.Providing social assistance for all persons meeting the eligibility conditions laid down in law; targeting social support programmes at vulnerable categories;
Professional advice and guidance activities aimed at career planning and the socio-professional integration of people with disabilities – information and advice for disabled people at institutions competent to register them in accordance with legal provisions as people seeking work;
Home care programmes for the elderly and other categories of people with similar needs;
Promoting the concept of "proactive ageing" and involving older people in the community, promoting good practice models in this field.
3)Are any of the policy programmes/actions described in the above question carried out in partnership with different tiers of government and/or with other stakeholders (regional or local NGOs, representatives of the social partners, the business sector or service providers). If yes, please state (a) the administrative levels involved (b) the practical arrangements taken to manage such joint action (c) who the main partners were and (d) how you worked with them (work organisation and time).
Restoration of an institution for the elderly through a project in partnership with a public service specialised in social support;
a)all levels of administration are involved (central – financing by MMFPSPV, coordination is carried out by the County Council, at county level and the County Agency for Social Inspections and Payments – an institution organised at county level, project implemented by the Directorate-General for Social Support and Child Protection – Home for the elderly;
b)the terms for interinstitutional cooperation have been set; contact persons have been appointed, a cooperation protocol has been signed; a timetable of activities has been drawn up and specific tasks have been assigned;
c)the main partners are MMFPSPV, DGASPC and AJPIS
d)between institutions at county level, cooperation is effective in terms of communication and time; with institutions at central level, from the point of view of time, cooperation is hampered.
4)Ensuring effective access to and participation in cultural activities for all is an essential part of promoting an inclusive society. In what way can participation in cultural and creative activities be instrumental for helping people and communities overcome poverty and social exclusion? Please refer to specific examples and existing initiatives.
Through participation in cultural activities, local communities can become better informed regarding the problems facing vulnerable groups, increasing tolerance of cultural differences and increasing the awareness of individual and businesses with financial potential and encouraging them to support social support programmes, generating interest in responding to the specific problems of vulnerable groups.
For example, information, communication, socialisation and recreation programmes for children with hearing impairments, through activities at the June 1 Association: Celebrating the name days and birthdays of the association's beneficiaries. Beneficiaries, volunteers and members of the association were congratulated and given symbolic gifts. The activity is of a permanent nature. The socialisation of young deaf people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds through sports activities at the "Ice Magic" rink in Buzău; the "C-am pus mâna la treabă" project has been developed in partnership with Campus TV. The association, in partnership with Campus TV, will produce the programme ,"C-am pus mâna la treabă", the main beneficiaries being four disadvantaged families with disabled members.
How is the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion relevant to your city or region?BOX 2 - European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion: main objectives and actions
The specific objectives of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion are :
- to support the eradication of child poverty. Over 20 million children are at risk of poverty in Europe today. This risk rises to 25% for children who live in large families and is over 30% in the case of children who live in single parent families;
- to promote the active inclusion in society and on the labour market of the most vulnerable groups since unemployment is the principal cause of poverty among the working-age population. The risk of poverty for the unemployed is more than five times greater than in the case of people in employment;
- to provide decent housing for everyone. Homelessness and housing exclusion represent one of the most extreme forms of poverty and have increased in recent years. Fuel poverty, which risks depriving households not only of heating or air conditioning but also hot water, light and other essential domestic necessities, is another example of severe deprivation;
- to overcome discrimination and increase the social integration of people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, immigrants and other vulnerable groups. For example, older people face a higher risk of poverty compared to the overall population; moreover, in some countries older people are at particular risk of material deprivation;
- to tackle financial exclusion and over-indebtedness which arise from a lack of access to basic banking services, a situation which has been aggravated by the recent crisis. It can also be an obstacle to finding a job and thus lead to persistent marginalisation and poverty;
- to promote the integration of Roma. Certain ethnic minorities, of whom Roma are the largest group, and migrant people in general, are disproportionately affected by multiple deprivation.
- improved access to work, social security, essential services (healthcare, housing, etc.) and education;
- better use of EU funds to support social inclusion and combat discrimination;
- social innovation to identify smart solutions in post-crisis Europe, especially in terms of more effective and efficient social support;
- new partnerships such as those between the public and the private sector;
- enhanced policy coordination among the Member States;
- provision of food to the most deprived people, as well as clothing and other essential goods to homeless people and materially-deprived children
5)Which of the objectives and lines of action of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion (listed in Box 2) are most relevant for the current situation in your region/city? To what extent have they encouraged you to set more ambitious policy goals at regional/local level? Please explain your answer.
Social innovation to identify smart solutions in post-crisis Europe, especially in terms of more efficient and effective social support.
It has encouraged us to set the target of implementing the concept of the social economy in communities with many vulnerable groups, and supporting those communities in managing local resources with minimum external support, capitalising on internal resources in order to make better use of the financial support of local social services.
BOX 3 – Social Investment Package :
The Social Investment Package (SIP) aims to give guidance to Member States on more efficient and effective social policies in response to the significant challenges they currently face such as financial distress, increasing poverty and social exclusion, unemployment, especially among young people. These are combined with the challenge of ageing societies and smaller working age populations, which test the sustainability and adequacy of national social systems.
The Social Investment Package includes a Commission recommendation against child poverty, calling for an integrated approach to child-friendly social investment. Investing in children and young people is especially effective in breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty and social exclusion and improving people's opportunities later in life.
The Social Investment Package is an integrated policy framework which takes account of the social, economic and budgetary divergences between Member States. It focuses on:
1.Ensuring that social protection systems respond to people's needs at critical moments throughout their lives. More needs to be done to reduce the risk of social breakdown and so avoid higher social spending in the future.
2.Simplified and better targeted social policies, to provide adequate and sustainable social protection systems. Some countries have better social outcomes than others despite having similar or lower budgets, demonstrating that there is room for more efficient social policy spending.
3.Upgrading active inclusion strategies in the Member States. Affordable quality childcare and education, prevention of early school leaving, training and job-search assistance, housing support and accessible health care are all policy areas with a strong social investment dimension.6)How relevant is the new Social Investment Package adopted by the European Commission on 13 February 2013 (Box 3) for your local/regional policies? Has it encouraged or helped you to set more ambitious policy goals at regional/local level? Please explain your answer.
The new social investment package is highly relevant for local social policy focusing on crisis prevention, the targeting of social programmes and the granting of social support benefits to very poor people and families, together with reducing errors/fraud in the social benefits system, and supporting, developing and diversifying social support services and those with a strong social impact, while increasing their quality and reducing the related costs.
7)What are the strong and weak points of the EU's policies addressing poverty and social exclusion? Were they sufficient in view of the challenges you are facing in this area? If not, would you recommend making any specific changes to the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion flagship initiative after the mid-term review of Europe 2020 in 2014, especially with regard to local and regional authority involvement?
Strong points: programmes targeted at the needs of vulnerable groups, active inclusion strategies for populations at risk of marginalisation, simplification of benefits system.
Weak points: the differing amounts of social benefits from State to State, the differing organisation of social service infrastructure methods for training staff applying the legislation, significant differences in the financial capacity of Member States to support social support policies; the level of unemployment resulting from the global crisis.
Are your country's policies relevant to your city or region?8) To help meet the headline targets and objectives (see Boxes 1 and 2), your country has set its own country targets, which you can find at To what extent are the targets set by your country appropriate to your local situation? Please explain.
The national targets on social inclusion are highly relevant, The programmes cover approximately 65% of the needs identified.
9)Does your country's 2012 (current) National Reform Programme (NRP) for Europe 2020 adequately respond to your regional/local needs in the policy areas covered by the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion (see Box 1)? If not, would you suggest any changes in your country's NRP for 2013?
10)Do you have the opportunity to contribute to the drafting of your NRP, or your National Job Plan, in the policy areas covered by the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, even if this takes place indirectly through the organisations that represent cities and regions in your country? If yes, please state how in brief.
Yes, indirectly. The institution they manage is responsible for evaluating, monitoring and supervising the implementation of social support and social inclusion programmes, in accordance with the specific methodology approved by law or in the operating manual;
Policy and funding issues