S&Ds call for establishing the European Child Guarantee to end child poverty in the EU

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During an S&D conference today on the European Child Guarantee, the S&D vice-president for economic and social affairs, Mercedes Bresso, and the S&D MEPs Brando Benifei and Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, called for putting an end to child poverty in the EU. The Child Guarantee is a new instrument developed by the S&D Group in 2014 to tackle the multidimensional aspects of child poverty. It would ensure that every European child at risk of poverty has access to free quality health care, free quality education, free quality childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition.  
 
“Today we are calling for making the European Child Guarantee a reality for all children in the EU in order to reduce poverty and offer opportunities for our future generations. We want to provide decent conditions for every child in the EU so that they can tap into their potential and flourish. Every child deserves to enjoy their childhood and have access to healthy nutrition and health care, education and housing. We believe that the income of their parents should not be an impediment to them in reaching their potential.
 
“Although all this seems to be common sense, it is far from being the reality. Children are the group at the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. In 2016 alone, 26.4 % of children in the EU-28 were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to the Eurostat. In addition to this, almost 11 million children were unable to afford necessary goods and services. The consequences are most alarming. Poverty deprives children of decent living conditions, education opportunities, and access to healthy nutrition and health care. Lack thereof results in a higher risk of unemployment, inter-generational poverty, malnutrition, illness, homelessness, early school dropouts and social exclusion.
 
“The EU needs to seriously commit to promoting equal opportunities for future generations and put in place all necessary mechanisms to ensure that all Europeans enjoy decent living conditions. Ending child poverty is the first and most crucial step to reducing inequalities. We need to first invest in people, if we truly want to ensure the stability and prosperity of all EU citizens. The Child Guarantee is key to tapping into the EU’s growth potential. Investment in children is the most effective means to improve the economic and social welfare across societies. This is why we are proposing the Child Guarantee as the new main instrument for ending child poverty.
 
“We, Socialists and Democrats, are calling on the European Commission to establish the Child Guarantee already in the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the years 2021-2027. To this end, increasing the overall budget by 10 billion for the Child Guarantee is paramount. At the same time, we want member states to allocate at least 10% of their ESF+ resources to implement the European Child Guarantee. Ending child poverty is a necessity we can no longer postpone! We must act now!”
 
Note to editors:
 
- In 2015, more than one in four children (26.9%) in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. 
- Between 2008 and 2014, the number of severely deprived children rose in 22 member states. The highest increase was noted in Hungary (+8.4%), Greece (+8%) and Malta (+6.3%)
- In 2014, the percentage of children living in a household at risk of poverty or social exclusion ranged from 15% in Denmark to 51% in Romania.
- The main factors affecting child poverty are: the household composition, the parents' labour market situation and education level, the mother's working status, and their country of birth.
- Children whose parents are migrants are more vulnerable.