When will children facing poverty have their day?

On the occasion of children’s day celebrated in numerous countries today, Eurochild calls on the EU to align its economic policies with its social objectives. Children at risk of poverty were completely overlooked by the economic policy recommendations offered by the European Commission last week.

Of the 78 recommendations offered to EU Member States as part of the European Semester, not a single one addressed the situation of children at risk of poverty and social exclusion. This comes at a time when the Commission claims to be seeking a “social triple A” for Europe. On an average 27% of children in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion; in some EU countries poverty rates are closer to 40% among children.

Earlier this week, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency called on the EU to “place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester”.

The European Semester process is the major tool for helping EU Member States review their economic and social policies. If we do not address child poverty as a priority our societies will continue to experience unacceptable levels of inequality. Aside from the human cost, this also damages our economy, democracy and social cohesion”, said Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild. 

Eurochild does however welcome the European Commission’s recommendations in other policy areas that affect children’s rights. For example Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia received recommendations on inclusive and quality education specifically for Roma children. Austria and Bulgaria were advised to improve access to education for people with a migrant background. Improving the provision of quality childcare was identified as key priorities for Austria, Ireland, Slovakia and Spain.

Read the Eurochild summary assessment of the 2017 Country Specific Recommendations for further details.

Note to editor:


  • In its 2017 Fundamental Rights report released on 30 May, the EU agency states: “The EU should place more emphasis on comprehensively addressing child poverty and social exclusion in the European Semester – making better use of the 2013 European Commission recommendation – as well as in upcoming initiatives, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights. This could include focusing attention in the European Semester on those EU Member States where child poverty rates remain high and unchanged in recent years.”
  • The Europe 2020 target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion remains unreachable according to the 2017 Fundamental Rights Report.
  • Eurochild publishes a yearly report on the European Semester based on national developments reported by its members, and a set of alternative recommendations for the following year. Read the 2016 report on the European Semester featuring 20 country profiles online.