People Experiencing Poverty (PEP)
What is PEP?
The European meetings of people experiencing poverty are annual gatherings of delegations of people with direct experiencing poverty coming from EU and EFTA countries who meet to exchange, on policies that are impacting on their daily lives, with each other and guests coming from National and EU Institutions, Social Partners, Social NGOs, Academics and other relevant actors.
The PEP Meetings have played an important role in driving the development of the direct participation of people experiencing poverty. The European meeting is a key visible moment in this process but more importantly it acts as a catalyst for national processes and national meetings of people experiencing poverty. The European Meetings have been well documented and positively evaluated for their impact on the delegates and the guests who attend.
History of PEP
The first of these meetings was organised by the Belgian Government in 2001 as part of the EU inclusion process launched by the Lisbon European Council (March 2000). The meetings continue to contribute to key EU processes including the follow up of the poverty target of the Europe 2020 strategy and the EU Social Investment Package.
The meetings have helped to keeping poverty and social exclusion visible in the European agenda.They have contributed to some key areas of policy development such as adequacy of minimum income, child poverty, housing and homelessness, indebtedness, the links between discrimination and poverty (particularly the realities for Roma community), and the impact of liberalization on public services.
The meetings help to put faces to the realities behind the numbers of people experiencing poverty, including the different realities for women and men throughout the life cycle. In addition, the meetings provide a ‘barometer’ in relation to social and economic developments in Europe. The processes associated to this meeting assist in the journey from ‘people experiencing poverty’ to ‘activists with direct experience of poverty’ and past participants are now playing important roles in anti-poverty organisations.
EAPN UK has been involved in the PeP meetings from the first event held 2001, and took a delegation to the most recent event held in November 2017 on the theme of in-work poverty.
Since inception the PEP meetings have been organised by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with the support of the EU Commission. The participation of each EU presidency at the meetings is significant and it was the turn of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, at the 2017 event.