– February 24 2021
Newly approved EU budget allocates funds to fight child poverty
A major milestone in fighting child poverty in the EU has been achieved: The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union approved the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) which, for the first time, sets a specific objective and earmarks funds to fight child poverty.
One in four children in the European Union were already growing up at risk of poverty and social exclusion before the pandemic. It is expected that many more children will fall into poverty due to the pandemic and related lockdown measures. This also puts more families at risk of breakdown as poverty is one of the key drivers of child-family separation.
The new European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) for the years 2021 to 2027 amounts to nearly €88 billion. The agreement foresees that 5% of this budget will be used to tackle child poverty. This means that EU member states with an average of EU child poverty higher than the EU average of 23.4% will have to allocate at least 5% of their ESF+ financial resources to fight child poverty.
“Children living in families facing socio-economic difficulties, as well as children without parental care who transition from alternative care to independent living, are frequently affected by poverty or the risk of falling into poverty due to a lack of access to services and support,” says Valerie Ceccherini, Representative to the EU of SOS Children's Villages International. “We really welcome this EU agreement. This new investment in children living in vulnerable situations will help break the cycle of disadvantage and reduce inequalities between children in the EU.”
SOS Children’s Villages has been advocating with various partners, such as the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, during the entire negotiations on the new long-term EU budget to ensure that children in vulnerable situations are considered and not left behind.
“Our aim is to raise awareness about the increasing challenges that so many children are facing in Europe today. Investing in children will have a lasting impact on their future and the future of societies in the EU,” said Margherita Leone, EU Policy and Advocacy Advisor.
SOS Children Villages as part of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children also recommends that the European Social Fund+ directly and substantially supports the implementation of the Child Guarantee - a new EU initiative to fight child poverty and social exclusion in the EU. In addition, we call on EU Member States to use the new EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, a financial instrument put in place to respond to the COVID-19 crisis across the EU, to tackle child poverty and social exclusion and to implement the Child Guarantee.
“It is critical that EU Member States‘ national recovery and resilience plans, which are currently being drafted, also include support for children in vulnerable situations, as the sanitary crisis has significantly exacerbated their vulnerabilities, reduced their access to basic goods and services, and increased the overall number of children in vulnerable situations,” said Ms Ceccherini.
SOS Children’s Villages International, as part of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children, has supported a statement welcoming the agreement and including recommendations. To read the full statement, click here.