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“25 million children in the European Union at risk of poverty or social exclusion


31 May 2013


Social Europe & Jobs
Sustainable Dev.
Caritas Europa calls on the EU and Member States to prioritise tackling child poverty

On International Day of Children, Caritas Europa draws attention to the fact that 25 million children in the European Union are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This amounts to one child in every four. To Caritas Europa, all children should be entitled same fundamental human rights, regardless of their origin or country of living.

“This is a failure to invest in people and in Europe’s future,” says Mr Jorge Nuño-Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa. “Child Poverty is often associated with developing countries and with the consequences of famine and malnutrition. However, child poverty, and sometimes extreme poverty, also exists in the EU today. This is a badge of shame for the EU and must be tackled as matter of priority.”

It is now generally accepted that early childhood is the most critical phase in a person’s development, and that poverty at this age can damage children psychologically, physically, and emotionally, and impact negatively on their well-being now, and in the future.

Caritas Europa points out that child poverty is about much more than just not having enough money. “It is also about not living in decent housing, or not having access to good quality education and health care services,” says Mr Nuño-Mayer. “It is about not having the same opportunities to develop or to participate in the kind of recreational and cultural activities enjoyed by other children,” he adds.

Key factors for child poverty must be tackled
Caritas research on the ground has shown that the key factors that increase the risk of poverty for children include the following: their parents being unemployed or being employed in low-paid precarious work; poor access to essential services; lack of good quality and affordable social and other housing; living in poor areas or districts; parents having a disability.

“The link between family and parental poverty and child poverty means that poverty is often passed on from one generation to the next,” says Mr Nuño-Mayer. “The EU and national governments have a clear responsibility to put in place structures and mechanisms to develop the policy frameworks and provide the necessary resources to prevent child poverty arising, and to address it where it already exists. Today, on the International Day of Children, Caritas Europa is calling on the EU and national governments to prioritise tackling child poverty, and to build more inclusive societies where all children are able to realize their full potential.”

For further information, please contact:

Déirdre de Búrca

Social Policy Officer

Thorfinnur Omarsson

Press Officer




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