European Union countries are falling short over promises on constructing a 'Social Europe', according to a new report from anti-poverty campaigners. Their claim is made in an assessment of the 2013 'national reform programmes' drawn up by member states and submitted to the European Commission – part of the Europe 2020 strategy for social inclusive growth.
- Poverty rose by 4 million over the last year – despite a target to reduce it by 20 million by 2020.
- The economic crisis is having a worsening social impact, exacerbated by austerity measures. Unemployment, poverty and inequality are all reaching 'untenably high' levels.
- Macroeconomic policies being pursued by member states are leading to an unequal sharing of the burden of the crisis, and will generate more poverty and social exclusion.
- The opinion of social/anti-poverty NGOs is not being taken seriously by governments, with no progress being made towards an integrated strategy to fight poverty and social exclusion.
- Immediate action should be taken to restrict austerity policies and promote social investment. An integrated multi-dimensional strategy is needed to fight poverty, based on access to rights, resources and services. EU funds should be targeted at reducing poverty and exclusion, and at supporting community-led and grass-root initiatives.
Source: Widening the Gap: EAPN Assessment of the National Reform Programmes 2013, European Anti-Poverty Network
Links: Report | EAPN press release