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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

EU poverty report ‘compulsory reading’ for Finance Ministers, states Green MEP

A new report on Europe’s strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion, adopted today by the European Parliament, should be ‘compulsory’ reading for every EU Finance Minister in the wake of the crippling global recession, Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has argued.

A key commitment in the EU 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion aims at lifting 20 million EU citizens out of poverty over the next decade by improving access to work and social security as well as essential services such as health care, education and housing.  The Platform also places an emphasis on making better use of EU funding pots to support social inclusion and combat discrimination.

Today’s report, authored by Frédéric Daerden MEP, recommends that the Platform adopts stronger action on minimum income to allow for greater economic inclusion, introduces appropriate taxation of very high salaries and creates an improved budget to tackle poverty across Europe {1}. There are currently more than 80 million people in the EU at risk of poverty, including 20 million children with the number rising.

Speaking after the vote, Jean, a member of the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “Despite making a commitment to reducing poverty by 20 million by 2020, recent figures show that almost 80 million, or 17 per cent, of the EU population are still at risk of poverty.  Therefore, today’s report should be compulsory reading for every Finance Minister as it is absolutely essential that in these times of economic hardship, governments continue to support their most vulnerable rather than blindly following ‘austerity’ measures which disproportionately hit those most in need.

“Investment in social protection and essential services such as healthcare and education makes sound sense – it acts as an economic stabiliser, it reduces further welfare spending and it keeps the economy moving.  As the global Occupy Movement demonstrates, our future depends on creating an economy based on the fair distribution of wealth, closing the gap between rich and poor and  the provision of decent jobs and adequate income for all.  If Europe is to prove it is serious about eradicating poverty, then the 2020 target must be backed by robust polices which hands empowers the 99 per cent – not just the one per cent.”

Notes to Editor

To read the Daerden report in full, please visit: