Is poverty and exclusion the necessary price for EU’s recovery?

The Third Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion took place on 26-27 November 2013 in Brussels. Sergio Aires, President of The European Anti-Poverty Network, at the podium in the presence of Lieve Fransen, Director at the DG "Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion" of the European Commission. (EC Audiovisual Services 26/11/2013).

The Third Annual Convention of the Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion took place on 26-27 November 2013 in Brussels. Sergio Aires, President of The European Anti-Poverty Network, at the podium in the presence of Lieve Fransen, Director at the DG “Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion” of the European Commission. (EC Audiovisual Services 26/11/2013).

At least one out of every four EU citizens is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The relevant percentage was 24.8% in 2012. However, given that this variable has been increasing steadily since 2008 by some decimal points every year, the measurement must have exceeded the 25% benchmark in 2013. These figures were published yesterday by Eurostat, the EU statistical service, and are based on data from the EU-SILC survey; (In the field of income, poverty, social exclusion and living conditions, the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) is the main source for statistical data at European level).

The quarter of EU population at risk of poverty and social exclusion numbers today more than 125 million persons constituting the largest ‘EU country’. The percentage of people falling in this category keeps constantly rising. It was 23.7% in 2008, increased to 24.3% in 2011 and was measured at 24.8% in 2012. This ugly development came despite the fact that the reduction of poverty and social exclusion is the key target of the widely advertised ‘Europe 2020 strategy’, the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade.

Just announcements

This is one more proof that politicians use these words in a completely deceptive way. It’s the well known tactics of ‘announcements’, but when it comes to core policies they forget their promises to the many and follow the way of the few. Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, some time ago boasted that the “Union has set five ambitious objectives – on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy – to be reached by 2020”. Needless to say that on all those accounts the EU is regressing, not progressing.

According to Eurostat “17% of the EU28 population in 2012 were at-risk-of-poverty after social transfers…The highest at-risk-of-poverty rates were observed in Greece and Romania (both 23%), Spain (22%), Bulgaria and Croatia (both 21%). Percentages of severe material income deprivation are even more embarrassing. It must be noted that material deprivation means people are not able to afford to pay their bills, keep their home adequately warm, or take a one week holiday away from home. This group of the population in the EU28 is 10%. “The share of those severely materially deprived varied significantly among Member States, ranging from less than 5% in Luxembourg and Sweden (both 1%), the Netherlands (2%), Denmark and Finland (both 3%) and Austria (4%), to 44% in Bulgaria, 30% in Romania and 26% in Latvia and Hungary”.

Out of work

An equal number of materially deprived (10%) are Europeans living in households with very low work intensity. It means that 10% of the EU population lives in households where the adults worked less than 20% of their total work potential during the past year. In this category also there are large variations between member states. Croatia (16%), Spain, Greece and Belgium (all 14%) had the highest proportion of those living in very low work intensity households, and Luxembourg and Cyprus (both 6%) the lowest.

There is no doubt that the still on-going financial crisis has weighted negatively on the economic and social conditions for a large part of the EU population. It’s equally true though, that countries which have more or less escaped the worst of the financial crisis like Germany and Denmark, still suffer of very large percentages of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion, around 20%. This is probably the price they paid to avoid the worst of the crisis. In any case, the EU is heading in the wrong direction compared to the key targets set by the 2020 Strategy. The question remains though, if this price had to be paid or it was the cost to keep the banks going.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief condemns attack targeting international forces in northern Mali

‘We cannot lose momentum’ on the road to peace in Yemen, UN envoy warns

Security Council urged to act with ‘one strong voice’ on raft of ills plaguing Middle East and North Africa

The EU checks the multinationals for tax fraud but Britain may sail out of the EU via Panama

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

Could switching between summer and winter time end in 2021?

These 11 EU states already meet their 2020 renewable energy targets

Parliament wants to suspend EU accession negotiations with Turkey

Chart of the day: This is how many animals we eat each year

Trade deals’ pure realism: it may take 10 years for a post-Brexit agreement

EU4FairWork: Commission launches campaign to tackle undeclared work

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Blue’ finance flows in the Seychelles

Why David Cameron’s large victory in UK elections will not pursue a ‘Brexit’

Here are 3 ways venture capital can fund a better future

Britain offers more money for an orderly Brexit but the Irish question resurges

Family incomes stagnate in the EU; people excluded from ‘moderate recovery’

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

Venezuelan exodus to Ecuador reaches record levels: UN refugee agency steps up aid

Raw materials: Commission launches new online portal to support responsible sourcing in businesses

MEPs approve new CO2 emissions limits for trucks

Investing in health workers yields ‘triple dividend’, WHO chief says in New Year’s message

Emerging legislation on commercial uses of facial recognition shows the work ahead

How to change the world at Davos

End discrimination against women and children affected by leprosy

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

This is what the world’s CEOs think about the global outlook

Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

5 leadership lessons I learned from doing my own ‘undercover boss’

Activist Greta Thunberg gets preview of UNHQ ahead of climate summit

Africa is creating one of the world’s largest single markets. What does this mean for entrepreneurs?

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

Why it’s good to turn your colleagues into friends

Better outreach to citizens needed to improve effectiveness of European Commission’s public consultations, say Auditors

Why 2020 is a turning point for cybersecurity

Mental health in midst of a pandemic: can we help?

Commission issues guidance on the participation of third country bidders in the EU procurement market

Member States’ compliance with EU law in 2018: efforts are paying off, but improvements still needed

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

UN agencies call for more resettlement and end to detention of asylum seekers in Libya

These refugee children have danced in the snow for the first time

Ahead of street protests, UN rights chief urges Guatemalan Government to respect democratic freedoms

‘Moral obligation and political imperative’ to support Syria on path to peace: Guterres

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

5 times people predicted the future and got it really wrong

Building back business: Avoiding a trade-off between resilience and growth

These 5 countries are home to more than half the world’s forests

These countries have the most expensive childcare

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: The fruits of sustainability and decent work

Saudi woman seeking asylum in Thailand ‘now in a secure place’ says UNHCR

Road injuries leading cause of death for the young, despite safety gains: UN report

On Grexit: Incompetence just launched the historic Ultimatum that could open “pandora’s box”

Rehn very reserved about growth in Eurozone

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

How cities, not states, can solve the world’s biggest problems

DR Congo: With Ebola on the wane, UN agencies prepare to combat coronavirus

The EU heads of State and Government about the result of the European Elections 2019

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s