The European Social Network
Social hardship does not affect just one or two countries, but is increasingly a Europe-wide phenomenon which requires a coordinated and agreed response
Railway station, in the large metropolitan areas of the EU, have always attracted and been a focus for the concentration of many forms of social hardship.
The various experiences of individual countries are the subject of a continuous exchange of views in the context of the Gare Européenne et Solidarité, a European network of railway companies, which have decided to share and exploit their experiences in the area of social hardship.
The European network was set up in Rome in 2008 with the signature of the European Solidarity Charter European (Charter for the Development of Social Initiatives in Railway Stations) by the railway operators of five European countries: Italy (FS Italiane), France (SNCF), Luxembourg (CFL), Belgium (SNCB) and Poland (PKP).
At this time, the document has eight more signatories: Romania (CFR), Slovenia (Zeleznice), Norway (NSB), Bulgaria (NRIC) and Denmark (DSB), Portugal (CP) and the Czech Republic (CD), Sweden (Jernhusen), thus making a total of 13 signatory railways.
The charter is the outcome of a long process, which was certainly given vital force by the principles of the social responsibility of business laid out in the European Commission's Green Book of 2001 and the Treaty of Lisbon.
The network wants to grow, and involve not only the other European railway networks, but also open the doors to affiliates from the public authorities, administrations and the major organisations working in the field of homelessness.
This is why our European social network now includes other organisations, who have signed parallel pacts such as the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the most important European network of homelessness associations, the International Union of Railways (UIC), the Spanish Railways Foundation and the cities of Paris and Rome.