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Call for submissions: Visit to the European Union

9 December 2020
Issued by
Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights
To seek input from all interested individuals and organizations, including civil society organizations, activists, and academics, to prepare for the visit to the European Union

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.

How and where to submit inputs

Submissions can be sent to by 9 December 2020. Kindly send your submission as an attachment to an email. Where possible, submissions in English, French, or Spanish are encouraged, as capacity for translation is limited and this would significantly facilitate review by the Special Rapporteur and his staff.

E-mail subject liner
Input for the EU visit
Postal address
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva, CH 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Word limit
2000 words
File formats
Word, PDF
Accepted languages
English | Français | Español

Treatment of inputs received

We will not publish any submissions without the explicit consent of the submitting individual and/or organisation. Please indicate in your submission whether we may publish all or part of it on the website of the Special Rapporteur.

Media inquiries

Regular updates on the visit to the European Union will be posted on the website of the Special Rapporteur and via his Twitter account. A press release with additional information about the visit will be issued on 20 November 2020.

At 12 pm on 29 January 2021, the Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference in Brussels where he will present a statement with his initial findings. Before and during the visit, the Special Rapporteur’s engagement with media will be limited to commenting on the scope of the visit, meetings held, and issues discussed during these meetings. Only at the press conference and thereafter will the Special Rapporteur be in a position to comment on his findings and conclusions.
Media inquiries, including requests to join the Special Rapporteur’s press list, may be directed to Patricia Varela (+41 22 928 and

Twitter: @DeSchutterO and @srpoverty

For more information, please write to or

Submissions received

Civil Society Organisations

National Human Rights Institutions