The E.K.K.A. Conference was successfully held on 21/11/2023, entitled: “THE EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL WELFARE IN GREECE – POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION – CHILD PROTECTION, A MAIN PILLAR OF THE WELFARE SYSTEM”, at Athens Megaron Concert Hall.
The purpose of the Conference was to highlight Child Protection as a main pillar of the welfare system in Greece, as well as to disseminate the principles of the Recommendation on the “European Child Guarantee” to combat child poverty and social exclusion.
The event was attended by the Reverend Fr Antonios Bezaitis, Representative of His Beatiitude Hieronymos, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, General Secretaries, Members of the Parliament, Presidents of Organizations and partners of the Network of “Child Guarantee” stakeholders. With their presence they honored the Conference and addressed a greeting the following:
- Sofia Zacharaki, Minister of Social Cohesion and Family
- Domna Michailidou, Deputy Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports
- Elena Rapti, Deputy Minister of Tourism, National Coordinator of the National Action Plan for the Prevention and Protection of Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
- Marina Stefou, Secretary General of Demographic and Housing Policy, Ministry of Social Cohesion and Family
- Georgios Stamatis, State Parliamentarian, Member of the Committee on Social Affairs of Hellenic Parliament, Member of Sub-Committee on Children in European Council
- Dr Ghassan Khalil, Diplomatic Representative of UNICEF in Greece
- Ioannis Moscholios, Member of N.C.D.P. and President of POSGAMEA
In the First Thematic Section entitled «THE EVOLUTION OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND WELFARE ECONOMICS – POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION» , the speakers Mr M. Matsaganis (Professor of Public Finance at Polytechnic University of Milan), Mr G. Planiteros, (Coordinator of the Social Welfare and Inequalities Division of Μ.Ε.Κ.Υ.), Mr P. Liargovas (Professor at University of Peloponnese) and Ms D. Nikou, (Head of the Child and Family Protection Directorate, Ministry of Social Cohesion and Family) referred to economic and statistical data related to poverty and social exclusion in Greece. Indicatively, it was pointed out that “Greece is facing a continuous and remarkable decrease in the population of children (by -32% until 2070)” and “Child poverty has consistently been higher than the poverty rate of any other age group over the past decade”.
In the Second Thematic Section entitled «“CHILD GUARANTEE”, A MAIN PILLAR OF CHILD PROTECTION”» , videotaped speeches were presented by the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights of the European Commission, Mr Nicolas Schmit, as well as the National Coordinators for the “Child Guarantee” of Spain, Ms Lucia Adani Losoviz and Sweden, Ms Parthena Hantzaridou. Furthermore, with her speech, the President of Ε.Κ.Κ.Α., Dr A. Anagnostou – Dedouli, referred to the challenges and prospects of the National Action Plan and emphasized the importance of the implementation of the European “ Child Guarantee”, given that, the changes in labor relations , which will be brought about by artificial intelligence, the climate change and natural disasters , which entail deterioration of living conditions, wars, and generally the international , geopolitical evolutions, are expected to increase poverty and social exclusion in general. Ms R. Oikonomou (Director of Special Service for the Coordination of ESF - EYSEKT) referred to ESF + to the NAP for the “Child Guarantee”.
In the Third Thematic Section, the Deputy Ombudswoman for the Children’s Rights , Ms. T. Koufonikolakou, the Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF , Ms M. Michailidou, the Vice President of the Association of Social Structures to combat poverty, , Ms Κ. Champipi, as well as the Directors of the Organizations (Mr. K. Yiannopoulos – “The Smile of the Child” and Mr. S. Sifnios – “SOS Children’s Villages”), emphasized everyone’s contribution to the “Chlid Guarantee”, referring to good practices and children’s rights.
In the Fourth Thematic Section, which was dedicated to the children themselves, the children’s voice was presented through researches, focus groups and an interesting audio-visual material created by the videotaped interviews of ROMA children, children from remote areas, children with disabilities, LGBTQI + children and LGBTQI+ families.
Finally, interesting was the Fifth Thematic Section, in which the members of the Social Affairs Committee of the Hellenic Parliament , Mr. G. Stamatis (Member of Parliament State, ND), Mr D. Kalamatianos (MP, Ilia, SYRIZA), Ms K. Kazani (MP, Evia, PASOK), Mr M. Syntychakis (MP, Heraklion, Crete, KKE), Ms A. Kouroupaki, (MP Athens, B1 (North, VICTORY) and Ms S. Stergioti (Department Head of Education, Greek Solution) expressed themselves positively on the Principle of protection of children of vulnerable groups and the need to continue the measures for Chld Protection.
To watch the conference on line press the following link: https://youtube.com/live/UInvUGfWqn4?feature=share