EU strategy ‘failing to deliver’ on poverty

Anti-poverty campaigners have sharply criticised the European Union's record on tackling poverty. A meeting in Brussels between campaigners and EU decision-makers has heard accounts of how widespread austerity measures are forcing people into poverty – at the same time as driving those already in poverty into deeper and more desperate situations.

A report of the meeting in September 2012, described as 'very intense', has now been published.

Key points

  • Under the 'Europe 2020' strategy for inclusive economic growth, some small steps have been taken towards tackling poverty, for example in relation to child poverty and homelessness.
  • But these have not been enough to counterbalance other trends – the sidelining of social concerns, and (above all) negative macroeconomic policies undermining delivery of the poverty target.
  • The Europe 2020 strategy is not currently preventing the dismantling of social protection, and in some cases is actually contributing to the very rapid increase of poverty, inequality and social tensions.
  • Campaigners at the meeting said a new explicit commitment is needed from the EU to deliver on a viable poverty target – restricting austerity and backing integrated anti-poverty strategies to ensure access to rights, resources and services.
  • They also called for the Europe 2020 strategy to be relaunched as a democratic, participative process, involving people who are experiencing poverty as direct partners.

SourceIs Europe 2020 Delivering on Poverty?, European Anti-Poverty Network
Links: Report | EAPN press release