SOLIDAR took part in a roundtable discussion on the role of MMF 2021-2027 in fighting child poverty and social exclusion at the European Parliament on 6 November. The event was hosted by the “EU alliance for investing in children” and Maria João Rodrigues (Vice Chair of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament). The discussion was joined by a Commission representative from DG Employment as well as Council representatives from Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands. Speakers also included MEPs Brando Benifei (S&D) and Jean Lambert (Greens).
The arguments made during the discussion stressed that poverty severely impacts children’s health and their ability to develop their talents and capabilities, to establish relationships and to learn. We need to introduce new resources if we really want to eliminate child poverty in the European Union. The EU child guarantee is an initiative of the Parliament, which called on the Commission and Council to consider the possibility of the EU creating special funding to combat child poverty (similar to the Youth Guarantee) in order to ensure that no child will be forgotten and that all children living in poverty can benefit from free medical check-ups, free education, decent housing and a proper diet.
MEP Brando Benifei insisted that the objective of the child guarantee must be clear: Fighting against child poverty in a more comprehensive way, in all its dimensions, and particularly in terms of efficiency. Equal opportunities at the beginning of your life are important to avoid creating a social gap. The Finnish representative from the European Council added that Finland has one of the lowest rates of child poverty in the world. How has it achieved that? All children are schooled within the same public system and all parents and families use and receive the same government services. Children’s rights are a priority for the Swedish government too, regardless of the government in charge, and indeed last year it was decided to increase the Swedish budget for children and their inclusion. This should be a role model for other European countries.
SOLIDAR agrees with the final statement of Save the Children, represented by Letizia Polizzi who emphasised that fighting child poverty and the promotion of social inclusion is the way forward to create a more social Europe that allows for social mobility and equal opportunity.