Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan, TD, will co-chair a meeting of EU ministers with responsibility for homelessness policy with Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor at the Irish College in Leuven, Belgium today.
The purpose of the proposed roundtable discussion is to bring added focus to the EU’s involvement in the area of homelessness, to discuss issues of common interest and possible future cooperation so as to signal the strong support among Member States towards addressing and tackling the issue of homelessness.
Speaking in advance of the meeting Minister O’Sullivan said, “Homelessness is an affront to every value that we assign to the concept of citizenship. I consider it highly appropriate that during 2013, which is the European Year of Citizens, a focus is placed on the homeless, who are among the most marginalised in our communities.
Minister O'Sullivan “It is my hope that the forum will allow us to discuss issues of common interest and to agree areas of future co-operation among Member States and how we can facilitate and support the development of strategies to confront homelessness.
“Clearly there is a political momentum on homelessness at EU level which has the potential to be transformed into more effective policy co-ordination and support. It is also clear that co-operation among Member States can impact positively with regard to the development of homelessness policies. Common understanding of the nature and causes of homelessness and, indeed, shared understanding of the potential solutions will contribute towards successful policy intervention. The meeting is timely in the context of the recent publication of the European Commission’s Social Investment Package and its strong focus on homelessness.”