Caritas Europa published a new report on the impact of the crisis, revealing high levels of poverty in the seven EU countries worst hit by the economic crisis (Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain).
The main conclusions and recommendations presented in the report are:
- Poverty and inequalities are increasing in Europe. 123 million EU citizens are living in poverty, almost 1 in 4.
- More than 1/3 of the population in five EU Member States are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (i.e. Bulgaria 48%, Romania 40.4%, Greece 35.7%, Latvia 35.1%, and Hungary 33.5%).
- 1 in 3 children, or more, live in poverty in 14 of the 28 EU countries
- There are serious gaps in the social welfare systems of many European countries.
- The policy of prioritising austerity is not working for Europe. Caritas Europa suggests several alternative solutions be adopted.
The Caritas Europa report concludes with clear recommendations towards major decision makers and stakeholders; EU-Institutions, national/regional authorities, and civil society organisations, including:
- Ensure a guaranteed minimum income for all. Every national Government should have a mechanism to ensure all people receive an income sufficient to live in dignity.
- Tackle tax evasion. Tax evasion must be tackled and fair taxation systems introduced in all sectors of society, including the corporate sector, in order to contribute a fair share. Those who can afford to contribute more should do so.
- Invest in social policies. The provision of quality services (relative to housing, affordable childcare, education, skills enhancement, health, among others) reduces inequalities and creates jobs in the long-term.
- Identify priorities, allocate adequate resources, and set targets and benchmarks to monitor their implementation. When deciding what policy approaches to use and who to target with them, authorities must base their decisions on fairness, justice, and common good of the entire population, ensuring protection of vulnerable groups”.