Poverty in Europe. A document to ensure that no one is left behind.

ATD Fourth World is an international movement, born in France in 1957 and present today in 30 countries, which aims at defeating poverty through access to all the fundamental rights. In the position paper Towards a Europe that Leaves No One Behind, the data on poverty in Europe are analysed and some recommendations are made.

In Europe, the poor are 113 million, a number that has been growing also in 2017. The European policies are still completely inadequate to face the social changes that have happened during the last years.

In its introduction, the document calls for the empowerment of poor people and asks to listen to them, thus recognising them as key actors in the processes that create policies against poverty.

The key points of the position paper of ATD Fourth World are four:

1. Towards a Europe that guarantees the right to a legal existence. In Europe, various citizens do not have the right to a legal existence: not only the children who were born in rural areas but also homeless people, migrants and asylum seekers. It is necessary to start a process of administrative recognition of the legal identity of people (also homeless people) which must be equal in all the countries of the EU. Furthermore, it is necessary to start policies so that, throughout Europe, not only the respect of human rights is granted, but also the protection (reception, food, medical care, instruction) of all the persons who do not fully enjoy the rights of citizenship.

2. Towards a Europe that supports the family. Europe can’t intervene directly in the family policies of the individual member states, but it can promote measures that have a direct impact on the life of families in the field of economic, social and housing policies. In particular, the European policies could have an effect on the major housing problems that the poor families are facing, and on youth policies.

3. Towards a Europe that is aware of all poverty’s dimensions. The European Union does not have yet a series of coherent indicators sufficient to define poverty and social inclusion as multi-dimensional phenomena. It is necessary to define, together with the realities that deal with poverty and development, new reference indicators for a more effective political action.

4. Towards a sustainable Europe that respects social justice. The transition towards a sustainable Europe from the energetic and environmental point of view can become an unbearable weigh for the poorest sections of the population. All the proposals must be evaluated based on the impact that they have on the poorest 10% of the population.

These objectives are mutually interdependent, the transition towards a sustainable Europe not only from the environmental but also from the social point of view must be a Europe that “Leaves no one behind” and that “ensures equality and well-being”. To do that, it is necessary to consider, first of all, the citizens, especially those that are in conditions of fragility, as actors of change.

Read the full document HERE. SPANISH | ITALIAN