On 7 and 8 November, the 17th European Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty will take place in Brussels. This meeting is organised by the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) with support from the European Commission, the Austrian Presidency of the European Council and the EAPN Fund. It is a unique opportunity for people with direct experience of poverty to address and exchange with EU decision-makers.

This meeting will be held while Europe is in a moment of crisis, with the danger that the European citizens are losing faith in the European project. The fact that almost 113 million EU citizens are still living at risk of poverty or social exclusion, represents a failure of our political and economic system, which needs reprogramming in order to tackle poverty and social exclusion.

This year’s Meeting of People experiencing Poverty will be on Poverty & Access to Education. Over a hundred people experiencing poverty from 32 European countries are preparing the discussions and will be in Brussels to share their knowledge and experience with each other, and with EU decision-makers. For EAPN, education is a state of being ready for continuous learning, and ready for life. It is a fundamental right that should be accessible to all and not solely seen as a means to access the labour market.

There will be 2 panel debates including the following speakers: Vera Hinterdorfer, EAPN vice-president, Katarina Ivanković Knežević, (Director for Social Affairs in DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion European of the European Commission), Florian Pecenka (Department  for Education, Science and Research at Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU), Michael Teutsch (Head of Unit for Schools and Multilingualism of the DG Education and Culture in the European Commission) and Guy Vanhengel – Brussels Minister of Finance and Budget.