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Call for submissions: Visit to the European Union

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights


20 May 2021


Issued by Special Procedures


Special Procedures, Country visits, Economic inequality

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Background and Objectives

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, will conduct an official visit to the European Union from 25 November 2020 to 29 January 2021, at the invitation of the European Union. His visit will focus on the relationship between the internal market and poverty and on the impacts of socio-economic governance in the EU and associated macroeconomic policies on poverty, inequality, and social exclusion in the European Union. Specific attention shall also be dedicated to the response of the EU to the COVID-19 crisis, through the "Next Generation EU" package.

The Special Rapporteur invites all interested individuals and organizations, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics, to provide input on the priority issues listed above to assist him in preparing for the visit.

The Special Rapporteur

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. UN independent experts regularly undertake country visits to report on human rights issues. Although visits usually last about two weeks, due to the public health situation, most meetings for this visit will be held online and the visit itself will last until mid-February. Visits usually include meetings between the Special Rapporteur and individuals affected by poverty, public officials, members of the legislature and judiciary, official institutions, civil society organizations, and academics. At the conclusion of such country visits, the Special Rapporteur presents a detailed statement of his initial findings. He subsequently submits a final report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The Special Rapporteur, Olivier De Schutter, is a Professor of Law at UCLouvain and at SciencesPo (Paris), with extensive experience as an independent UN human rights expert. Between 2008-2014, he served as Special Rapporteur on the right to food. He was a Member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights between 2015-2020, a position he held until he took up his functions as Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on 1 May 2020.

The Special Rapporteur’s visit will lead to a detailed, end of mission statement on 29 January 2021, and a final report presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2021.

Key questions and types of input sought

Respondents are requested to limit their comments to a maximum of 2,000 words. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other background materials may be annexed to the submission.
While all submissions are welcome, and the questions below are by no means exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for comments that address topics such as:

  • The protection of social rights in the constitutional architecture of the European Union, and the added value of the European Pillar of Social Rights for addressing poverty, inequality, and social exclusion.
  • The reality of regulatory competition within the EU in the social and taxation fields and its impacts on people living in poverty.
  • The potential of the various social protection tools under present or future EU competence to address poverty, inequality, and social exclusion.
  • The role of EU socio-economic governance concerning member State budgetary discipline, public finances, and taxation policy, and their impact in relation to poverty, inequality, and social exclusion.
  • The impacts on people living in poverty of the opening up to competition of the electricity sector.
  • The expected impacts of the EU’s COVID-19 response on the rights of people living in poverty and on improving socioeconomic equality within and between Member States.

The Special Rapporteur greatly appreciates the effort that goes into making such contributions and looks forward to reading all submissions.