Call for anti-poverty strategies in EU countries

Each EU member state should develop a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy, and set 'ambitious, effective' poverty and social targets, says a European campaign network. It highlights the need to ensure that austerity measures do not drive an increase in poverty and exclusion.

The network's recommendations are based on a European Commission analysis of responses to the Europe 2020 strategy for inclusive growth, contained in the so-called 'Country-Specific Recommendations'.

Key recommendations

  • Countries should balance social and economic objectives, and take steps to ensure austerity measures do not lead to an increase in poverty and exclusion – thereby generating long-term social, health and economic costs.
  • There should be comprehensive, multi-annual anti-poverty strategies at country level, demonstrating how progress will be made towards achieving the EU's poverty target.
  • Countries should set ambitious, effective poverty and social targets, with sub-targets for key groups, and improved data collection, monitoring and mutual learning from the results.
  • Countries should reduce social and economic inequality, through progressive taxation and reinforced redistribution mechanisms including universal services.
  • Active inclusion strategies for working-age people should be adapted to the needs of specific groups, and punitive measures against unemployed people should be avoided.
  • Minimum income schemes should be boosted to ensure they reflect the real costs faced by people on very low incomes. Action should be taken to improve take-up and coverage.
  • The UK's coalition government is specifically called upon to halt its programme of benefits reform, abandon plans to cap benefit increases, delay the introduction of universal credit, and retain the existing target for reducing child poverty.

SourceEAPN Assessment of 2013 Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) and Proposals for Alternative CSRs, European Anti-Poverty Network
Links: Report | Annex | EAPN press release