Justice: “protecting human dignity” “The challenge for political leaders at national and EU level alike should be the recovery of confidence giving priority to the needs of the population compared to market needs, thereby inspiring people to renew their commitment in democratic processes to create a Europe of democracy and solidarity”: the statement is contained in the final declaration of participants in the European Conferences of Justice and Peace Commissions during their annual international workshop and general assembly in Athens and Corinth. Theme of the encounter: “Protecting Human Dignity at a Time of Economic Crisis”. The delegates, representing 22 national commissions of bishops Conferences, have visited several NGOs in Greece committed in supporting migrants and poor people. In the face of the crisis, that is political, economic and social in nature, there is the need for “fiscal policies and fair investments, so that the fiscal burden may be equally shared in compliance with the principles of social justice, tax evasion is countered with effective measures and the regulation of the financial and economic sector may ensure that the institutions in this sector may be at the service of the common good”, states the document. On October 17, add the signatories of the final declaration, high-level government officers of all 47 member countries of the Council of Europe will convene in Turin to analyse the progress made in the implementation of the European Social Charter. Together with other NGOs, Justice and Peace Europe will participate in a parallel meeting on the occasion of the International Day for the uprooting of poverty. “These meetings – the delegates say -provide a precious opportunity to strengthen our commitment for the protection of social and economic rights enshrined by the Social Charter”. Among the themes addressed during the workshop figures also the need for policies in the field of migration and asylum based on “shared responsibility and solidarity”. During the assembly the handover of activities took place from outgoing president William Kenney, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham, to the archbishop of Luxembourg, Msgr. Jean-Claude Hollerich, new president in office. Spain: Caritas on minimum job placement wages The diocesan Caritas of the Basque Countries – Bilbao, Vitoria and Saint Sebastián – have released a statement signed by the president of Basque Caritas Carlos Bargos, in defense of the minimum income scheme. “Although the macroeconomic data show that the crisis is over, as Caritas we find that its worst effects have not disappeared from the lives of the most disadvantaged. Present society presents greater disparities and job insecurity, with new victims in addition to those caused in the period prior to the recession, with more restricted social rights”, the document states. Caritas Basque conveyed its position in the statement that starts with the acknowledgement of the current situation experienced by many fragile and weak people. “Conscious of our margin of improvement, of the many possibilities that we still have to extend protection measures (which does not reach everyone, of the need for development and improvement of our inclusion platforms, we have the duty to sustain our guarantees and social inclusion income system”, the statement underlines. After twenty-five years, this system “continues acting as a powerful buffer against the negative effects of the current economic situation and an effective tool for the redistribution of wealth. It supports the improvement of low pensions and employed workers with insufficient financial means and alleviates the economic burden of vulnerable individuals and families”. Slovakia: Fair on social care in four cities Four Slovakian cities join forces to attract citizens’ attention on the problem of poverty through the Social Works Fair. The Christian Workers Forum and other partners co-organized a set of events with the purpose “of making the invisible visible and present organizations and bodies engaged in reducing poverty and decreasing the problems of various social brackets in this area”, said Petra Bajlova, project coordinator. All those interested and involved in the uprooting of poverty will have the possibility of visiting targeted exhibitions, taking part in debates, conferences by experts and events in the streets of Bratislava, Trnava, Nitra e Kosice. This year’s edition of the campaign offers people the possibility of being personally involved. “We have prepared five recommendation on how everyone can give a contribution for reducing poverty in households and regions, as well as at national level”. For further information: www.chudoba.sk.