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EU to face up to scourge of poverty – European Parliament

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EU to face up to scourge of poverty - European ParliamentEighty million Europeans live in poverty, so what are EU countries and the EU doing about it? The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion was set up do look for answers. Belgian Socialist Frédéric Daerden attended the first annual convention in Krakow in October and told MEPs on the Employment Committee that the aim is to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty by 2020.

According to the EU definition, people are considered at risk of poverty when they live on an income below 60% of the median household income of their country.

Combating poverty is mainly the responsibility of national governments but the EU can help by setting up EU-wide rules and making funds available.

Ministers discussed national targets in Krakow. France, for example, wants to cut the number of people at risk of poverty by one third by 2012. Germany plans to reduce the number of long-term unemployed by 20% by 2020, while Poland aims to lift 1.5 million people out of poverty within a decade.

On 15 November, the EP adopted a report by Daerden, calling on the European Commission to report to Parliament on member states’ progress in reducing poverty and social exclusion each year.

The EP also wants the Commission to set out its proposals for combating poverty in terms of the 2014-2020 long-term budget and wants the convention of the platform against poverty to have a bigger role.

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