Children at a playground

Eurocities members call for stronger action on child poverty

Eurocities members call for stronger action on child poverty

Tackling this issue should be a shared burden between EU, national and local authorities, in their opinion

Urban representatives who participated at the Eurocities event ‘Growing up and out of poverty: Lessons from cities for the EU Child Guarantee’ today united around the urgency of helping vulnerable children in Europe and urged stronger institutional action between the various levels of government in the European Union with a view to assuring that the new initiative will be optimally synchronized with the Recovery Fund in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Eurocities members believe that the new European Social Fund Plus does not account for the harmful social effects of the pandemic, and especially so in the urban environments, where much of child poverty is concentrated. 5% of this Fund have been earmarked towards uplifting children from poverty but only in countries which have higher than average rates of that problem.

Child poverty is, sadly, on the rise

The coronavirus pandemic forced social isolation, which in turn has exacerbated the risk of social exclusion borne out by the fact that children in low-income families tend to be more often on the wrong side of the digital divide. That gap is only likely to contribute to their access to education and as a consequence their prospects for personal and professional development.

We need to prevent a lost generation of European children. The only hope is that national governments will use the EU recovery funds to prioritise social investments, and not forget about our children,” stated Maarten van Ooijen, Chair of Eurocities Social Affairs Forum and Deputy Mayor of Utrecht.

Eurocities website reported that thanks to the network’s initiative “Inclusive Cities 4 All” more than 6 billion euros have been set aside by urban centres on the continent towards fighting youth poverty. Yet, this is not enough since it is an issue that can only be comprehensively tackled with the added participation of national and EU governments due to the complex causes behind it.

As a result, representatives stated that the following needs to be done before the EU Commission adopts the new Child Guarantee initiative:

  • Close the gap in access by supporting local Child Guarantee schemes to adapt services to local needs and make them available as close to children’s homes as possible;
  • Boost local level social investment in children by allocating sufficient resources from EU and national budgets to cities;
  • Involve cities as key partners in developing and delivering the Child Guarantee.

This kind of commitment would free up additional resources and create synergy in the fight against this social ill.

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