Dear President Sassoli,
Dear Members of European Parliament,
We are writing to you on behalf of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children (1) to ask for your support in ensuring there is adequate EU budget allocation to the fight against child poverty.
Today, 1 in 4 children in the EU grow up at risk of poverty and social exclusion. The COVID-19 pandemic and the socio-economic consequences it has already caused and set to put in motion are worryingly expected to escalate this figure exponentially, further affecting health and wellbeing, and the living conditions of millions of people in Europe.
During the last year, the European Parliament and the European Commission have prioritised child poverty reduction in their proposals for the European Social Fund Plus (3) calling on every EU Member State to invest 5% of ESF+ resources under shared management to implement measures reducing child poverty.
We are deeply disappointed that despite the European Parliament’s and the European Commission’s proposals, the EU leaders have not earmarked resources to the fight against child poverty under the European Council Conclusions on the EU’s Recovery Package and the EU’s budget for the 2021-2027 EU funding period.
This is a historic moment to champion the rights of children within the EU and ensure that the EU’s Next Generation grows up in inclusive healthy, equitable and prosperous societies.
We therefore encourage you to:
- Support the mandate adopted by the European Parliament in April 2019 on the European Social Fund Plus (4), in particular as regards the requirement that every Member State invests at least 5% of ESF+ resources under shared management for tackling child poverty.
- Include in the European Parliament’s Resolution on the European Council Conclusions of 21 July 2020 the need to invest in children, to increase the protection of those in vulnerable situations and to eradicate poverty and in particular child poverty via the European Child Guarantee.
With kind regards,
On behalf of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children,
Anita Bay Bundegaard
1) The EU Alliance for Investing in Children has been advocating for a multidimensional, rights-based approach to tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being since 2014.The EU Alliance consists of 22 civil society organisations and Unicef, all working on the issue of child poverty reduction and social inclusion. http://www.alliance4investinginchildren.eu/
3) The European Parliament in its proposal on the European Social Fund Plus (onwards ESF+)[iii] took a critical step by proposing that the ESF should be increased by 5,9 billion EUR and “be allocated for measures falling under the European Child Guarantee referred to in Article 10a”,. The European Parliament also proposed that EU “Member States shall allocate at least 5 % of their ESF+ resources under shared management to targeted actions aiming at implementing the European Child Guarantee, in order to contribute to children’s equal access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition”[iii].
In May 2020, the European Commission updated its proposal on the ESF+(3) as a response to the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Commission recognised the importance of investing in children and took on board the European Parliament’s ESF+ proposal to tackle child poverty. The European Commission proposed that “EU Member States allocate at least 5% of the ESF+ resources under shared management to support activities addressing child poverty in line with the specific objectives of the ESF+ that allow for programming resources towards actions directly supporting children with regards to early childcare, education, healthcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition”.