Press Release: Make child poverty history

Eurochild urges EU leaders to take action against growing child poverty in EU recovery plan and budget

The EU is forecasted to see a deep recession and increased poverty levels owing to COVID-19. Children are disproportionally affected by poverty. They must be front and centre of the decisions EU leaders take this week on the EU recovery plan and long-term budget.

Almost 200 organisations and individuals working with and for children across Europe under the pan-European umbrella network of Eurochild call on EU leaders to ensure the EU Recovery Plan and a new long-term EU budget, to be discussed at the upcoming Summit on 17-18 July, help to address child poverty. Eurochild, urges EU leaders to agree that at least 5% of the European Social Fund Plus resources in the long-term budget should be targeted at reducing child poverty in all EU Member States.

In a strongly worded public statement released today, Eurochild raises the alarm on child poverty ahead of the Special European Council taking place in Brussels on 17-18 July. In a complementary video address, H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild and former President of Malta urges EU leaders put children front and centre in their negotiations: “Don’t just think of bailing out businesses, invest in our public good. Invest in our children.” 

In the EU, more than 1 in four children are at risk of poverty and children are more likely to be at risk of poverty than the general population.  (Eurostat, 2018) Children already disadvantaged before the crisis by poverty, migration status or difficult home environments have suffered most during the lockdown imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover child poverty is likely to worsen owing to the economic fallout of the crisis. Reports suggest that household poverty is expected to increase by 15% worldwide by the end of 2020. (UNICEF and Save the Children, May 2020).

Last week, the European Commission forecasted that the EU will experience “a deep recession this year due to the COVID19 crisis”. “With children being disproportionally affected by poverty, it is important to learn from the past and avoid responding with austerity.  Public investment in children and families, and the services that support them, is essential if recovery is to be sustainable and inclusive”, added Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild.

Eurochild members, which total almost 200 organisations and individuals across 35 countries, are echoing the call to make child poverty history across all EU national capitals ahead of the meeting of EU leaders.

Note to Editor:
The European Social Fund Plus is an EU financial instrument dedicated to improving social cohesion and economic well-being for the period 2021-2027. It works by investing in people for instance, by improving job prospects, education, reducing inequalities and more. If the European Commission’s proposal is accepted by the Council, this would be the first time tackling child poverty would be an overt objective in a long-term EU budget. This would allow countries to tackle growing child poverty and address inequalities much earlier in the life-cycle, thereby breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

EU leaders will meet physically in Brussels, Belgium on 17-18 July in a Special European Council to discuss the EU recovery plan to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and a new long-term EU budget 2021-2027.
Analysis by UNICEF and Save the Children in May 2020, Children in monetary poor households and COVID-19, suggests the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic could increase household poverty by the end of 2020 by 15% worldwide.  

Background:

Eurochild is a pan-European network that advocates for children’s rights and well-being to be at the heart of policymaking. A public statement has been launched on 13 July to demand EU leaders to act against child poverty. H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Eurochild and Former President of Malta has made a video address to the leaders supporting the demands of the network. Read the statement and access the video address.

#EndChildPoverty

For any questions, please email:
Prerna Humpal, Head of Communications, Eurochild
Mobile: +32 (0) 486 355 083