The Guest Blog

By Jana Hainsworth

At least the EU institutions have understood the urgency of the issue: child poverty is rising and we need to invest now to avoid long-term social and economic decline. Today one in four children in the EU is at risk of poverty or already experiencing it. That equals 25.3 million children. The economic crisis and government austerity measures are exacerbating existing inequalities in society. More and more families are struggling to make ends meet.

We urge EU Member States to act now

A recent European Commission Recommendation calls on EU governments to “invest in children – to break the cycle of disadvantage” [http://www.ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=9762&langId=en]. A Recommendation is not binding on member states but governments will do well to take notice. Research has shown that making appropriate investments to prevent child poverty today will save public expenditure in the future, such as through reduced health care or social protection costs.

Today and tomorrow (10-11 April 2013) many NGOs will be participating at Taking action to fight child poverty and to promote child well-being, a political roundtable and seminar, organized by Eurochild, EAPN and UNICEF under the patronage of the Irish Presidency of the EU. There, we will stress the importance of this European Commission’s Recommendation and its implementation at Member States level.

What is child poverty?

Eurochild and EAPN take this major event as an opportunity to launch their explanatory Towards Children’s Well-Being in the EU, which aims to raise public awareness on child poverty in Europe and on the devastating effects it has on lives of children and families as well as on society as a whole. It suggests concrete solutions at EU, national, local and individual levels to support the concrete implementation of the European Commission Recommendation.

Keep up the momentum

EU institutions have acknowledged that child poverty is a priority issue. Eurochild wants to keep up the momentum and ensure national actors apply the necessary pressure on decision makers to invest in children and promote child-well-being. Children – and society as a whole – cannot afford that the EC Recommendation remains a paper exercise. Children need practical implementation now.

We hope you will participate by following our event on Twitter:

#childpoverty2013 to follow the event on 10-11 April 2013

#CPexplainer for the lunch of our explainer “Towards Children’s Well-Being in the EU”

Jana Hainsworth is Secretary General of Eurochild, a non-profit network of organisations and individuals working across Europe to improve the quality of life of children and young people.

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