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Europe 2020

In a presentation to the Oireachtas Committee today, March 25, 2010, Social Justice Ireland has called on the Taoiseach and the Irish Government to ensure that the European Council adopts a target of reducing poverty by 25% in the EU by 2020 and adopts social cohesion and social inclusion as explicit objectives of the European Strategy for 2020. The Council is set to meet today and tomorrow, March 25 and 26, 2010.

Following the EU Summit it is hard do work out what was decided or what the response of the Heads of Government will be to the huge response of the Social and Environmental organisations who challenged the European Commiossion's claim that they broadly supported the Commission's proposals for Strategy 2020.

Social and environmental organisations have reacted angrily to claims by the European Commission that they "broadly support" draft plans for the EU's Strategy 2020.  This overview misrepresents the views of major networks of organisations working with those who are poor and excluded across the EU.

Social Justice Ireland has challenged Government to adopt a target of ‘zero poverty’ by 2020. In its most recent Policy Briefing, Social Justice Ireland states that “Government needs to change direction in its approach to reducing poverty. A good starting point would be for Ireland and the EU to adopt a target of ’zero poverty’ to be reached by 2020.” This would be a very appropriate way of marking the European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion.

The European Commission's strategy for the EU until 2020 is deeply flawed and would not be acceptable under any circumstances as a meaningful basis on which to proceed to articulate a vision to guide the EU in the coming decade.

The worst economic and financial crisis in decades has hit Europe hard with a sharp economic 
contraction. The unemployment rate is set to rise to double digit figures in 2010, a level not 
seen for a decade. 
 
Collective action to save the financial system and to boost demand and confidence through 
public intervention has helped to prevent an economic meltdown. However, the crisis has 
weakened our resilience. The EU now needs to make a stronger effort to work together to 

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