Church charity Caritas Europa is demanding the European Commission “put words into action” for the more than 112 million people experiencing poverty or social exclusion in Europe.

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On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty this October 17, Caritas called in a statement on the soon to be appointed EC “to take action against poverty, inequalities and social exclusion”.

Nearly 25 million of the more than 112 million poor in Europe today are children, the Church’s network of relief, development and social service organisations denounced.

“Due to inter-generational transmission of poverty, children who experience poverty at an early age are at a higher risk of growing up to become adults living in poverty”, the charity explained.


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Caritas appealed in its statement for “concrete proposals” with “sufficient resources” to end the “vicious cycle of poverty”.

Plans such as the European Child Guarantee which would ensure access to services to all children, but only if it is fitted into existing frameworks, such as European Pillar of Social Rights, the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Caritas explained.

The European Commission must further “rebalance” its economic, social and ecological objectives to strengthen the fight against poverty, the charity said.

“Since the financial and economic crisis of 2008, austerity policies have put national social protection systems under pressure, further undermining the capacity of states to protect people against poverty”, Caritas denounced.

That much when “human dignity” dictates that all citizens have the right to social protection, and “effective social protection systems contribute to reducing inequalities and to improving social cohesion”, the charity explained.

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What’s next

Caritas said it is “essential” that people actually experiencing poverty be involved in the design of concrete policies to fight against this exclusion, “in order to develop or improve services that adequately address their needs”.

“The EU can play a decisive role in ensuring that nobody is left behind in Europe”, insisted Maria Nyman, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

Nyman urged politicians to work towards “fair and sustainable social models that keep family policies at the centre, provide for inclusive labour markets and ensure access to adequate social protection systems for all”.

She called for concrete policy initiatives “now” to ensure that people “no longer experience poverty, in a society based on social justice where everybody’s dignity is upheld”.

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