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New Statistics: Poverty Increasing in Europe. Caritas Europa Deeply Concerned


10 Feb 2012


Global Europe

Brussels, 9 February 2012 - Caritas Europa calls on decision makers to act according to Europe 2020 strategy and fight against Poverty.

“We are deeply concerned to see that poverty has increased over the last years. We know, because of daily contact with our members all around Europe, that these figures will even increase in 2011 and probably in 2012,” says Jorge Nuño-Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

This week, Eurostat released new report on how many citizens of the European Union are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

“In 2010, 115 million people, or 23.4% of the population, in the EU27 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This means that they were at least in one of the following three conditions: at-risk-of-poverty, severely materially deprived or living in households with very low work intensity. The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy,” Eurostat reports.

“In 2010, the highest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in Bulgaria (42%), Romania (41%), Latvia (38%), Lithuania (33%) and Hungary (30%), and the lowest in the Czech Republic (14%), Sweden and the Netherlands (both 15%), Austria, Finland and Luxembourg (all 17%),” the statistical office of the European Union says.

Children at greater risk of poverty

In the EU27 in 2010, 27% of children aged below 18 were affected by at least one of the three forms of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 23% of the working age population (aged 18-64) and 20% of the elderly (aged 65 and over). Children were most affected in 20 Member States, while the elderly were the most touched in Bulgaria, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden. In Denmark, it was the working age population which was the most affected.

“I am extremely concerned about child poverty rate, especially because they are our future. While children are at greatest risk of poverty and social exclusion, the future of Europe is under threat. I urge Governments and European institutions to do their utmost to act in favour of the fifth objective of the Europe 2020 strategy and make a real paradigm swift,” Nuño-Mayer added.

“We have also noticed that the national reform programmes are not addressing these issues properly,” Nuño-Mayer added, pointing at Caritas Europa’s Shadow Report on the national reform programmes (NRPs) in November 2011.

Together with 49 member organisations, Caritas Europa will continue its mission to fight against poverty and social exclusion. Among forthcoming publications from Caritas Europa is "Changing the Life Path of Children in Poverty across Europe", examining best practices on how to tackle child poverty, and the 2012 Shadow Report on the Europe 2020 strategy.

Read the full text of Eurostat’s statement here.

For more information:

Thorfinnur Omarsson

Tel: +32 4 73341393

Caritas Europa