One in four children in Europe are at risk of poverty. According to Eurostat, that means around 25 million children (representing roughly 27% of all children in the EU) were “at risk of poverty or social exclusion” in 2015. These children may be growing up in households suffering severe material deprivation, often with parents or guardians who have few (or no) sources of income to support them.
Poverty is a trap. It means higher levels of stress and worry; it means poorer healthcare outcomes; it means parents being unable to spend as much time and energy with their children, and it means not being able to access good education. The results is children who are unable to reach their full potential, which only perpetuates the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next.
European countries consistently rank among the highest in terms of quality of life worldwide. Yet there is still enormous inequality within the EU (both within and between countries), and the average figures can mask significant poverty at the margins. So, what can we do? How can we help children escape the poverty trap and build a better future?
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Ivaylo, who thinks education is the key to tackling not just child poverty but inequality in general. Is he right?
To get a response, we spoke to Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, an NGO campaigning on behalf of children across Europe. Did she agree that the answer was education, education, education?To get another perspective, we also put the same comment to Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. How would he respond?Next up, we had a comment from Rosy who thinks child poverty has been getting worse in Europe since the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures. Is she right?
How would Jana Hainsworth from Eurochild respond?Finally, what would Commissioner Tibor Navracsics say to the same comment?Is investing in education the best way to reduce child poverty? Have austerity measures since the 2008 crisis made child poverty worse in Europe? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!