Social and economic inclusion
ENAR works to achieve the following in this field:
Issues and challenges
Ethnic and religious minorities and migrants across Europe are still amongst the groups most vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion. Exclusion from employment, health, housing and education continue to undermine the everyday experiences of millions of them across Europe. Not only are minorities more likely to experience exclusion but their exclusion is often more severe or extreme. It is clear that there is a link between these experiences and discrimination:discrimination and racism can lead to exclusion, and vice and versa.
Governments’ recognition of the need for interventions to enable those most disadvantaged escape social exclusion and poverty is to be welcomed.The problem remains that they often minimise the contribution of structural inequalities and discrimination. This renders the social exclusion of many ethnic and religious minorities invisible and unaddressed.
Europe’s social inclusion agenda provides an opportunity to combat poverty and exclusion, but there is a real need to improve the visibility of ethnic minorities in social inclusion strategies. Precise and targeted policies to address the specific needs of ethnic and religious minorities within social inclusion policies must be developed.
At the European Councils of Lisbon (March 2000), Nice (December 2000) and Stockholm (June 2001), Member States made a commitment to reduce the risk of poverty and social exclusion. The 2000 Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs aims to make the EU "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010 with greater social cohesion". This is why the Commission’s Social Agenda (2005-2010) for modernising Europe’s social model focused on providing jobs and equal opportunities for all and ensuring that the benefits of the EU’s growth and jobs drive reach everyone in society.In 2010, the European Union adopteda 'Europe 2020strategy' to replace the Lisbon Strategy.
Member States co-ordinate their policies for combating poverty and social exclusion though exchanges and mutual learning known as the ‘Open Method of Coordination’ (OMC). The OMC provides a framework of political coordination among EU Member States without legal constraints. Member States promote their most effective policies in the fields of social protection and inclusion with the aim of learning from each others’ experiences.
The framework for social protection and social inclusion policies issued by the EU in 2005 defines the objectives: to “ensure the active social inclusion of all by promoting participation in the labour market and by fighting poverty and exclusion among the most marginalised people and groups” and to “guarantee access for all to the basic resources, rights and social services needed for participation in society, while addressing extreme forms of exclusion and fighting all forms of discrimination leading to exclusion”.The European Commission also established an advisory group on the integration of disadvantaged ethnic minorities on the social and labour market. This group brought together a limited number of eminent personalities from the world of politics, business, civil society and the international community, and issued its final report presenting its main recommendations in December 2007.
ENAR policy responses and reports