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.

 

Advertising

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

Brexit: MEPs concerned about citizens’ rights

Closing the loop: Commission delivers on Circular Economy Action Plan

Environment Committee MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

We need to talk: UN gears up for 75th anniversary with Global Conversations

Shifting Tides: Policy Challenges and Opportunities for the G-20

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

5 lessons from China on how to drive sustainable growth

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

‘Answer the call of Afghans’ to reduce impact of conflict, UN urges all parties amid increase in civilian airstrike deaths

How will EU look after French, Dutch and German Elections and what will be the implications for Youth Entrepreneurship?

South Sudan ‘heading towards lasting peace and stability’, UN General Assembly told

Killings and violence targeting ethnic group in DR Congo ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

Do academia and banks favour a new Middle Ages period?

6 facts to know about EU alternative investment funds

Two shipwrecks add to ‘alarming increase’ in migrant deaths off Libya coast: IOM

To rebuild trust in the media, we must empower its consumers

Q and A on the draft digital copyright directive

Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Ebola in DR Congo, malnutrition in Laos, baby health, support for Sahel force, #ClimateAction

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

It’s time to gang up: a personal conflict on discrepancies in the medical community

No end to Deutsche Bank’s problems: new litigations in the US and frailty in EU stress test

Jo Cox’s murderer believed the ‘leave’ campaign leaders that the ‘remain’ vote is treason

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

We’re facing a ‘cold crunch,’ and it’s nothing to do with the polar vortex

Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum shuts down with no real replacement. EU’s Triton instead might put lives at risk

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

These 2 teenagers have helped change the law on plastic pollution in Indonesia

Protect women’s rights ‘before, during and after conflict’ UN chief tells high-level Security Council debate

Facebook changes its terms and clarify its use of data for consumers following discussions with the European Commission and consumer authorities

Invisibility outside the closet: health as a right for all

Trump-China trade war lingers upsetting global economy and stock markets

Trade, taxes and other takeaways from Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum

Rights of ‘gilets jaunes’ protesters in France, ‘disproportionately curtailed’, say UN independent experts

Fighting crime: faster EU-wide exchange of non-EU nationals’ criminal records

French full-body veil ban, violated women’s freedom of religion: UN Human Rights Committee

These are the best cities for tech

Switzerland has the most highly skilled workers in the world. This is why

Sustainable development funding is broken. Here’s how to fix it

“At the Environment Assembly citizens expect clean, not hot air”, the Head of UN Environment in Europe underscores in a Sting Exclusive

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: Banking moguls continue brandishing financial Armageddon to intimidate us all but in Davos they worry about the very distant future

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Why we need to redefine trust for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Eurogroup has set Cyprus on fire

Cameroon: Clear ‘window of opportunity’ to solve crises rooted in violence – Bachelet

The right approach to addressing overcapacity problem from a Chinese perspective

EU: Protecting victims’ rights from cartels and market abuses

Europe’s poor investment in digital is threatening prosperity. Here’s what its start-ups need

Human rights in Brussels and in Beijing: a more balanced approach needed

Human rights are ‘key’ for economic policymaking says UN expert

Syria: A bloody tracer of Trump – Putin rapprochement

Why the financial scandals multiply?

European Youth Forum welcomes establishment of new Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

Nairobi summit: Women’s empowerment a ‘game changer’ for sustainable development

Sub10 Systems @ MWC14: Bridging the Ethernet of the Future

More Stings?

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