Erny Gillen, President of Caritas Europa, and MEP Elisabeth Schroedter during the launch Credit: Caritas Europa
By Marius Wanders, Secretary General, Caritas Europa
The official ‘launch event’ of the Caritas Europa campaign ‘Zero Poverty’ and the official publication of the study paper ‘Poverty Among Us’, both in the context of the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, took place very successfully in the European Parliament buildings in Brussels on Wednesday 27 January.
We were a bit overwhelmed by the high turnout of Members of European Parliament, representatives of NGOs and representatives of the press who chose to accept our invitation, so we had a very full room with standing room only for many who showed up. Still, this is much better than having a very large room and nobody showing up
If you click this link you will be able to read a web page article that describes very well what happened at this occasion. We are also enclosing some photographs to illustrate this rather successful event. On the webpage you will also find links to the presentations that were given on this occasion, links to the campaign materials and the study paper ‘Poverty Among Us’ in 3 languages, and of course links to our campaign website Zeropoverty.org
We are already rapidly approaching 500 signatories of our on line petition. However, this is still only a small fraction of what we aim for before the end of 2010: more than one million signatories so that we will meet the requirements of the EU Treaty to submit a Citizen’s Initiative that the EU institutions must then take into account. Still, it is early days yet and we hope that our member organisations will be able to mobilise hundreds of thousands of people to sign up.
Already we have also seen people from other continents sign up (Philippines, Kenya etc.). This is great and it is very welcome support. Then system will allow us to ‘filter’ the signatures from EU member states, but it would be even more impressive if we reach considerably more signatories than our target one million, including many from beyond the borders of Europe. It would only strengthen our message.
So the message to all of you is: please ask your friends and colleagues to sign our on line petition! And ask them to ask their friends and colleagues as well…
Let’s hope that in this year 2010 we can begin to mobilise a vast number of people in the fight against poverty and in achieving a paradigm shift about poverty and social exclusion.