‘Worrying increase’ in child poverty in EU

A 'worrying increase' in child poverty and social exclusion is putting at risk the well-being of children in the European Union, both now and in the future. That is one of the main conclusions of an independent review prepared for a meeting of European poverty experts.

The paper looks at the current situation in relation to child poverty, social exclusion and well-being in the EU, and identifies a series of key challenges.

Key points

  • The current crisis poses a serious challenge to the European 'social model'. The crisis is deepening poverty and social exclusion and exacerbating inequalities, not least among children and their families. If these developments are not addressed they will threaten the social cohesion of society.
  • Child poverty and well-being have to be put at the heart of the debate on preventing and tackling inequality, just as the issue of inequality needs to be at the heart of efforts to combat child poverty and social exclusion and to promote child well-being.
  • The worrying increase in child poverty and social exclusion threatens the well-being of children both now and in the future. This makes it doubly important to strengthen 'Social Europe' and ensure inclusive growth, as set out in the Europe 2020 strategy. In doing so, particular attention must be given to protecting children’s well-being here and now. This is a matter of children’s rights, but also about ensuring their future well-being.
  • It is very important that the political momentum currently being generated on these issues is maintained in the coming period. As a start, the European Commission should finalise and adopt its recommendation on child poverty and well-being – perhaps as part of a broader social investment package – by early 2013.

Source: Hugh Frazer and Eric Marlier, Current Situation in Relation to Child Poverty and Child Wellbeing: EU Policy Context, Key Challenges Ahead and Ways Forward, European Commission