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EAPN and the OMC - Capacity Building Workshop Report and Tool Kit are out

EAPN has been actively preparing its members to engage with the new cycle of the Open Method of Coordination on social protection and social inclusion through a series of capacity building tools and events.
A capacity-building workshop was held in Brussels on the 29th February (see report). involving over 30 participants from the 24 EAPN national networks involved with the EAPN Social Inclusion Working Group and members from key European NGOs. Key inputs were also provided by Peter Lelie, policy coordinator from the European Commission, DG Employment and Eoin O'Seaghdha, Desk Officer for Ireland, Latvia and UK.
At the workshop a new Tool Kit was trialed and amended, providing essential information and hints for engaging in the NAP Inclusion. A model letter has further been distributed for member's use.
EAPN's Social Inclusion Working Group will be reviewing the National Action Plans for Inclusion and the National Strategic Reports, following this period of engagement and producing a report in the Autumn.

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2011: European Year of Volunteering? Get mobilised!

The European Volunteer Center (CEV), Solidar, the European Youth Forum, the Red Cross European Unit, AGE and Caritas Europa, all Social Platform members, are part of a wider campaign to have a European Year of Volunteering in 2011.
In order to get 2011 to become the European Year of Volunteering, the coalition and MEPs have decided to first mobilise Members of the European Parliament, through a written declaration. Written declarations are signed by MEPs during plenary time.
What can you do? You can ask your MEPs to sign the written declaration. In order to ease the work, CEV has compiled a list of MEPs per country and has translated the written declaration in all languages.
You can also sign the call for a European Year of Volunteering and join the coalition. For more information, please contact Markus Held -

Social NGOs on Commission's Renewed Social Agenda: a package, but not a pact

Brussels, July 2 2008 --- European social NGOs reacted with measured optimism on 2 July 2008 at the unveiling of the Commission's ‘social package', a series of proposals aimed at reviving Europe's long-neglected social policies. The Social Platform, the alliance of European NGOs active in the social sector, welcomed the package but noted that a clear commitment to making social issues central to EU strategy is still some way off.
The package includes much-needed proposals for new laws to protect millions of people living in the EU from discrimination on the grounds of disability, age, religion and sexual orientation, as well as clear European-level targets for cutting poverty. The Platform noted however that despite this focus on social issues, the Commission's exclusive emphasis on growth and jobs remained unchanged. Additionally, as very few components of the package are legislation, the proposal can have only limited effect in making a difference to the lives of people in the EU.
"With 16% of the EU population at risk of poverty and discrimination rampant, the proposals contained in the renewed social agenda were badly needed," said Conny Reuter, President of the Social Platform. "But until the Commission puts forward a social pact, making concrete pledges for social progress central to its vision for the EU, equality for all and the eradication of poverty will be impossible to achieve."
The package will be implemented when it is approved by Member States, presumably at the end of 2008.

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Save the Children provides input for EU situational analysis on violence against children

The European Union has been working on children's rights for a number of years and is now progressively trying to mainstream children's rights in its external policies. In order to better promote and protect children's rights in a holistic fashion, the EU produced a new set of Guidelines pertaining to all children's rights ("EU Guidelines for Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child").
The EU recognises that it would be impossible, given the available resources, to implement all children's rights immediately, so it decided to choose priority areas to work on for two years at a time. The theme for the first two years (2008-2009) is that of violence against children, owing to the EU's strong support for the UN Violence Study. The EU has chosen to focus on ten pilot-case countries: Armenia, Barbados, Brazil, Ghana, India, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, and the Russian Federation.
To this end, the EU is developing country-specific strategies, taking into account the specific violations in each country. In May 2008, Save the Children, along with several other NGOs, provided the Slovenian Presidency with information from its field offices on the ten pilot-case countries.

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