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Rising homelessness in EU without access to emergency care is a scandal


08 Feb 2012


Social Europe & Jobs

Today the ALDE group held a seminar on "EU citizenship, homelessness and EU freedom of movement" to address the dramatic problem of homelessness and to draw up measures to facilitate the integration of homeless people into society as well as ensure accessibility to emergency housing. 

"EU citizenship and free of movement are two clear rights set into EU acquis and at the heart of the European project as a matter of our identity. Unfortunately these rights are often denied to EU citizens when in a situation of homelessness, facing instead total social exclusion", said ALDE MEP Niccolò Rinaldi (Italia dei Valori, Italy) co-organiser of the seminar. "This phenomenon is all around us in Europe and in rapid increase due to the crisis but we must end the indifference and cynicism that is the other face of this phenomenon".

Indeed according to European Commission data, an estimated 43 million people in the EU are threatened by food poverty. Moreover Eurostat published today a survey revealing that only in 2010, 23% of the EU population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion and 27% of children aged less than 18.

"Member States as well as the European institutions need to take their responsibility. The European Commission must map the problem and set common practices throughout its Member States. European integration, after all, is also about social inclusion", Rinaldi concluded.

"The cold chill that is now killing hundreds of homeless people on our streets represents a failure for the EU. Destitution cannot be a reason to be deprived from fundamental rights such as social and health care or access to a shelter", said ALDE MEP Cecilia Wikström (Folkpartiet, Sweden) co-organiser of the seminar.

"Being homeless is not a crime" continued Ms Wikström, condemning Hungary's recently adopted "shameful law" that prescribes jail for any homeless person found on the street unless able to pay a fine of 445 euro. "We must set common standards for emergency and social care in the EU".

By recalling the resolution on the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion that the EP adopted last 15th November 2011, Ms Wikström concluded: "wherever they live in the EU, every human being facing a homeless situation must be granted the same basic rights". 

For more information please contact:

Corlett Neil - Tel:+32 2 284 20 77 Mob:+32 478 78 22 84

Terzi Federica - Tel:+32 2 283 23 24 Mob:+32 494 18 88 31



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