Despite years of sluggish economic growth, Europe is still a rich continent. But that relative wealth hides deep inequalities both within and between nations. The Scandinavian EU Member States (Sweden, Finland, and Denmark) are among the most equal societies in the world. Yet the nearby Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

In Romania, over half of children under 16 are at risk of poverty and social exclusion; in Denmark, that number is less than 15%. Should policymakers be concerned by growing inequality, or is this a case where government should let the free market do its thing? Does more effort need to be made to tackle social inequality?

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from J M, arguing that widening social inequality was leading to a collapse of trust in mainstream politics and the rise of far-right and far-left parties. If the gap between rich and poor is allowed too grow to wide then J M argues that it will threaten the political stability of Europe.

How would YOU cut social inequality? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Stelios Kouloglou (Radical Left), Member of the European Parliament:

KouloglouWell, we need to find a mechanism of redistributing wealth according not only to who is the most powerful, but also who needs more. We need to do that, as well as going back to one of the founding principles of the European Union, which was the principle of social justice. Not equality for everybody, but social justice. And this is something that doesn’t exist today. We need the kind of solidarity that does not exist in today’s European Union.

Terry Reintke (Group of the Greens), Member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs:

terry-reintkeI would say that taxation is a very, very important policy field to tackle here. We need more coordination on a European level in order to create fiscal policies that don’t create more inequality but that give the state space to manuevre with regards to expenditure, to fight against problems like unemployment, to invest in the economy, and to do other important things that are relevant at the moment, such as the fight against climate change.

So, we need these fiscal tools at the European level, and an increase on the basis in which we can work politically. And, on the other hand, to fight against tax evasion exactly to have the same impact, fighting against inequality and boosting the economy.

Liberal Democrats
Sylvie Goulard (ALDE), Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs:

Centre Right
Michaela Šojdrová (EPP), Member of the European Parliament:

sojdrovaThe EPP would cut social inequality by assisting families with targeted help, fighting discrimination and helping disadvantaged groups, and by ensuring level playing field conditions for all.

Sajjad Karim (ECR), Member of the European Parliament:


Laura Ferrara (EFD), Member of the European Parliament:

ferraraAn easy, immediate and efficient solution to this problem is to introduce a guaranteed minimum income. It could help people who are falling into poverty and it is a real economic measure. It could increase consumption of primary goods and, therefore, could have a direct impact on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) that could increase their profits by triggering a virtuous circle for workers and companies.

Curious to know more about the gap between rich and poor across Europe? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – 2nd_Order_Effect
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Who do YOU agree with on this issue?


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142 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Eurosceptics have my vote: Unconditional basic income with state aid for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

    • avatar

      And to be made universal regardless of borders.

    • avatar
      Marcel de Bie

      …..and make us as poor as before the revolution of 1974 Sr. José?

  2. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Destroy tax heavens and build EU police to fight crime and corruption. Stop financing religious spiders and publish bank transactions .

    • avatar
      Conrad Vernersson

      I really agree with you Vinko. A better integrated police institute for the entire union would be very beneficial for all memberstates.

  3. avatar
    Tony Kunnari

    Well they are all correct in their own way and as a group. Of course there seem to be term-related errors, but I am going to correct them here while also giving a solution.

    1 ) Stelios Kouloglou (Radical Left), Member of the European Parliament – Radical Left

    He is correct when he stated that we need social justice. Where he is incorrect is when he uses the term equality. We actually need equality, but what I think he wanted to say (or should have said) is that we don’t need exact equivalence. Equal and equivalent have a different definition. Social justice is important because we talk about justice in its correct level. Monetarian justice is in the diversity in which equivalence is the one that plays the main role. Social justice is in the security in which equality plays their part. Simply said, to me at least the term ‘justice’ is a situation where everyone wins. Currently there are less winners than there ought to be in order for us to say that we are all winners when we observe the environment wherein one of the problem lies.

    2 ) Javi López (S&D), Member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs – Social Democrats

    Redistribution of energy is the most important concept available to us in akin to renewability and one of the ways we humans affirm these concepts is to create children. Without children there would be no future for redistribution and renewability from our part. We need to make sure that children are able to interact as they please while they still maintain and develop their environment in mutual consensus.

    3 ) Terry Reintke (Group of the Greens), Member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs – Greens

    Reformation of taxation is at the heart of change. When this is solved, the rest will fall into place eventually so to speak. If this is not solved first, it is much more intricate to add the rest of the updates through which we upgrade our system. For example the basic income portion would be out of its proportions. It would be either too less or too much.

    4 ) Sylvie Goulard (ALDE), Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs – Liberal Democrats

    Tax evasion and competition needs to be, not prevented, but relocated and reformed into local level tool in a way that people are able to invest more when they have too much and invest less when they have less than enough for themselves. We also need a way to communicate these situations to each other so that the rest or certain amount of people are able to adjust their taxation in a way which benefits the one(s) in due need and vice versa. Simply said this is about scheduling our budgets in real-time and this means that we need to have a tool that allows us personally to manage and regulate the money that comes in and out.

    5 ) Michaela Šojdrová (EPP), Member of the European Parliament – Centre Right

    The same tool mentioned above would be the exact tool to help us in this area also.

    6 ) Sajjad Karim (ECR), Member of the European Parliament – Conservatives

    Same tool again here also.

    7 ) Laura Ferrara (EFD), Member of the European Parliament – Eurosceptics

    Tool mentioned above also regulates guaranteed minimum income due to its encoding in relation to the monetarian environment.

  4. avatar
    Dimitris Kasapakis

    One cannot simply ask those who impose the inequalities about what needs to be done to fight it.
    MEPs are the definition of social inequalities in EU. They enjoy legal immunity, diplomatic status, unbelievable income and benefits, stable job in the EP, all to the expense of EU taxpayers. MEPs have no right to speak about social inequalities when this is exactly what they represent.

    • avatar
      Ricardo Silva


    • avatar

      So I should not have the right to state what is detrimental if I am the “villain” who does actually that which is wrong even if I acknowledge that I truly am the villain in question who does actually wrong?

    • avatar
      Paul X

      and what about the right of those who want to work hard to earn more money for their own family to keep this money instead of subsidising those who cant be bothered getting out of bed in the morning?

      UBI has to come out of someones pocket

    • avatar

      This is to Paul X:

      In relation to the economical environment, UBI is a method to shuffle i.e. rehash a portion of the current pool of income between each individual to form a platform of incentive on which everyone have equal chance to practise their more or less non-equivalent vocations. Everything depends on how the environment behaves. When we understand how it behaves, we will change it so that there will be a slot fit enough to keep UBI as a feature in place and online. I imagine that this will eventually have a slider that each individual can use to manage their income and outcome investments with everything else related to your budget.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Fable, I understand the theory put forward by the pro UBI lobby, my point is in reality it will never work. The “pool of income” is only there due to people working longer, harder or in better qualified jobs to earn a surplus of money over and above what they actually need to live. If you then take this off them it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that they will no longer work any more than they need to just to see it given away to others who prefer to spend their life in meaningless, non productive vocations

      The other argument of taking money from large corporations is also pointless. Whatever route it takes the money in an economy originates from selling goods or services, start using this money to give to the work-shy and all that will happen is prices will increase and UBI will no longer be a UBI.

      Don’t get me wrong, I would love there to be UBI, i would quit my job immediately and start doing what I really want to do with my life, unfortunately, so would millions of others, and that sudden loss of productivity and taxation is the major flaw in UBI ideology

    • avatar

      Paul X

      I don’t follow the theory of UBI as it is taken by the mainstream. I speak about the one that does the job it is supposed to do in a way it is supposed to do it; nothing more nor less i.e. an optimal solution for extreme problem.

      Point is to make sure that the velocity of individuals in relation to environment becomes productively stable instead of suicidally extreme. That is the sole purpose of this theory in action. If not Venus Project, then this is the second best choice. I’d rather take on the Venus Project however.

      Here are some of the misunderstanding you have on the solution:

      “Fable, I understand the theory put forward by the pro UBI lobby, my point is in reality it will never work.”

      1 ) As mentioned above, I don’t follow the exact mainstream version of the UBI. I follow the one that I have developed myself.

      “The ‘pool of income’ is only there due to people working longer, harder or in better qualified jobs to earn a surplus of money over and above what they actually need to live.”

      2 ) Also due jobs in which people work shorter, easier and / or less qualified jobs to earn a surplus of money over and above what they actually need to live. Then there are those who go below and under what they actually need to live and those who do this the longer, harder and / or better qualified way though still get less than they actually need to live. In reality the pool is there because we have designed it to be there, the way it is there, and the way it currently behaves.

      3 ) Also the part “over and above what they actually need to live” is a part of the problem / symptom network. It means you screw your and the budgets of others as well for no reason other than to think you ‘may’ need the extra although you have no clue where to invest it. Thinking this way you actually turn into a problem of the environment. Part of the problem is also idle money because that is the way we have developed it to be; e.g. profitability from idleness has been introduced.

      “If you then take this off them…”

      4 ) Only the extra they don’t need and to be exact, I don’t take it away because I don’t have to do that. Those with too much invests the extra money they have before the money becomes idle. In other words they already plant the extra into the pockets of others before the money even hits their wallets. These people, whose pockets are in question, are those who look for money to fill in the lowest necessities. They just look from the wrong places wherein they usually would not be able to find the necessary fillings. Whenever we design an update to cater this correctly, this way they find what they are looking for even if the place is wrong. This means that the interests of people play a more important role than they play today and will define partially the continuum i.e. if they continue to stay in the wrong place making it the right place or going into the right place and maintain it as the right place.

      “…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that they will no longer work any more than they need to just to see it given away to others who prefer to spend their life in meaningless, non productive vocations.”

      5 ) There are no non-productive vocations. As part of the definition of a vocation, i.e. a role of interest, is that it is productive. If it is not productive, we are not talking about a vocation. A vocation does not mean that the interest we take on should be done as efficiently as possible. Vocation is something you do in an optimal pace. Even if it is not productive from your point of view (you lack the interest), the individual makes it productive just as they do so today (with interest).

      6 ) There is no such situation in which people “just see it given away”. People either understand the whole pattern of interaction, or they more or less neglect, ignore and / or panic around any portion of it, thus making a mistake, which causes some of the symptoms currently witnessed today. They will see how it is invested though because they are the ones who define the amounts in a flexible manner.

      7 ) You tend to undermine the intellectual capacity of the people to understand the pattern in the statement “…they will no longer work any more than they need to…”; they however do work as much as they can due strict pressure (otherwise they are fired / unrecruited), i.e. due principles in motion, or they do just what they need because the pressure allows them to do the same results as a whole on the seemingly ‘lower level’ as well. In other words as long as the results are acknowledged as that what is wanted, the rest of the pattern can fluctuate as it pleases.

      “The other argument of taking money from large corporations is also pointless.”

      8 ) We are not taking money from corporations. We shut their accounts down as they are no longer needed anymore. There is no use for accounts through which money cannot be channeled. If you sense that these accounts are still viable to be used, please suggest a way how to do so. In an environment where there is only one account in which the content is redistributed every second, there is really no reason for multiple accounts to be used. They actually become a hazard to the environment if they are still included in the pattern. What type of a hazard may yet be unknown, but I would not be surprised if it is to relate such situation in which you think you need extra money even though you don’t have any evidence to prove it.

      “Whatever route it takes the money in an economy originates from selling goods or services, start using this money to give to the work-shy and all that will happen is prices will increase and UBI will no longer be a UBI.”

      9 ) The more you ask in exchange of your goods and services, as much it redistributes in return, correct? Point here is that the current means of redistribution does not include the whole nation(s), only some of its / their parts. In other words we need to include every holon into the equation as well as their parts; preferably as simple as platforms perhaps. The portion X of income, which is invested before it even hits your wallet, is what we need to come up with and preferably in such form that you can manipulate it directly on your own behalf in order to manage your budget in the exact manner possible.

      “Don’t get me wrong, I would love there to be UBI, i would quit my job immediately and start doing what I really want to do with my life, unfortunately, so would millions of others, and that sudden loss of productivity and taxation is the major flaw in UBI ideology.”

      0 ) You would quit your job to only find yourself in another, just like everyone else. The cage is still a cage. It is just decorated to suit you more than the former one you had in relation to its environment. What will be different really are the simple details through which a seemingly intricate network is developed. You may or will not sense anything different until you begin your research. That is the moment when you witness that you are more “free’er” to do what you want, but that is only because the environment allows you to do so without going too much idle which is more than possible in the current system.

      Does this seem logical? Up to what point? Please give suggestions. They are appreciated and will affect on my pool of understanding.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Fable, these UBI proposals are “disturbingly” interesting, but should be tested by actual trial first! One does not want another large scale social “EU planning” mishap- by ignoring yet unknown future ingredients in the mix!

      If the UN (who else?) could arrange & convince (and “underwrite” the risk) some states on a voluntary basis to introduce UBI (as a social experiment- say for ~3-5 years)- let’s wait & see to judge its outcome! Should it turn out a disaster, than these nations are “assured” of at least by a global surety and safeguarded!

      Take a poor nation (like Namibia, Zimbabwe or Moldova), a rich one (e.g Switzerland, Finland etc) and a middle income one- on a “clinical trial” first & evaluate- than decide! Again, there are plenty pros & cons around!

    • avatar

      EU Reform- Proactive

      I second your proposal to test them. That is an eager purpose I pursue amongst others. We need to take into account every possible variable related to this matter.

      Since money seems to be like blood in our veins, i.e. it goes through individuals connecting them into a network of interaction-counteraction fluctuation, without money the network shrinks almost as directly as there are individuals who get none of it. Everything related to this needs to be taken into account. The more appendages are left out from blood circulation, the more we need to amputate them, correct? A leg cannot survive when there is no blood to spare to it unless it is replaced with something that does not need blood, but something else and so on.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      @ Fable

      I think the basis of your theory is that any surplus money that people earn or any profits business create should be redistributed to those who don’t have enough?

      The flaw in this thinking is that these excess are already redistributed throughout the economy in other ways.
      People who earn more than they need to live often spend this on luxury goods or holidays therefore safeguarding jobs of people who make these goods or work in the leisure industry. Company profits are often spent on investing in new products or technology thereby safeguarding peoples jobs in the future
      Take these surpluses out of the system and yes, maybe everyone in the country will have enough to live on. But there will be big job losses, no luxury items, holidays, innovation will cease and the only place people will be able to spend their UBI is on basic essentials for survival…sounds a bit like the bad old days of communism to me

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Hi Fable! Great idea- or flawed?
      Yes, you are undeniable enthusiastic but the burden proof or “onus probandi” rest’s with the proposing party- considering the immensity of the impact!

      Attached herewith are the global unemployment trends. Further considerations are the impacts of shifting global scenarios & circumstances, robotics will replace & alter job requirements, proof of the “missing” impact the EU has had and will have in its region and not to forget the personal & group human psyche and attitudes every earthly “tribe” inherited, depending on their evolutionary path traveled.

      How realistic, easy, helpful and widespread will it be to realize such a goal/dream?
      Even the direct democratic & rich Swiss have doubts:

      Jaime Martins, the “right” to have a decent life is conditional on everyone’s balanced, but “decent” input!

    • avatar

      Paul X

      That is an incorrect assumption. I don’t speak about any monetarian value which already has an investment plan, but those that you simply don’t have included in your budget which is everything else you think you don’t need to bother. This means that we should not underestimate our current system. It is the greatest invention we individually maintain and update in almost real-time.

      When we think we should not take into account something, within this system as a part of this system, while we may win something it also means that we fail someone.

      I’m giving simple bits of data here because this is much more than I can handle alone after all, especially when I don’t understand the terminology. There are still crannies and nooks to analyse.

      Excess of monetarian value or a surplus is a portion which hasn’t been included in your budget i.e. the portion that comes after everything is kept in motion. In other words if you already have an investment plan for a specific income-portion, that is not surplus nor anything excessive. The moment you feel in your mind that the budget is fine, there is a probability that it is tenuous at best. Therefore it is this moment you should calculate the budget as many times as it needs in order for you to actually forget the budget in the end.

      You can forget a perfect budget, but figuratively speaking any other will have this microcosmic motion detector which begins to pulsate in your mind until enough is enough and it reminds you, in an instant, of the ghost in the grocery store. You may haven’t seen it in the store, but you suddenly felt it in your mind when you began to unload the bags. You just didn’t bring it with you because you didn’t bother asking for it in the store when your senses were not enough to detect it by themselves. You could also think of a budget as it was ‘good oldies work’; you didn’t want to bring it home so it was best to be sure of its comprehensiveness. This way you could forget it and it would not bother you at home. However seldom this wasn’t the case, I take it, and the cup got full sooner or later. At that moment the work came home and situation got a bit worse due the time spent on trying to save [insert reason here] while the real reason was the tiny tenuous budget.

      If you don’t include all investments (the luxury, the trips, the necessities etc.) into your budget, you haven’t made a workable budget to begin with; just the tenuous one (I like the word tenuous). Any variable you don’t take into account in your equation is out of it, hopefully in an equation of someone else. Any penny you don’t have in your wallet is hopefully in someone else’s pocket.

      That which is not in your budget is what you won’t get. If you want to obtain something, that something needs to be in your budget; it is simply something you won’t bother if it is not there. All the “just-in-case” money you ever need is one of the reasons behind monetarian poverty if I am not mistaken. The solution to this is not to think in the same way as before. Leave out the just-in-case fundraiser festival and try to at least add everything you need and want into your budget next time around. This way you won’t have any idle money and every single detail in investment areas are taken into account. We could also try and live with the formerly mentioned ‘fundraiser’ money alone (test-reversal), but I don’t think people would like to live on such short leash unless their income flow pace would be the one to define the due dates in each bill of theirs i.e. as fast as the pace allows, the needs and wants are provided or something like this.

      No one is to ‘take’ surplus away or any excess funds. They are simply incorporated into the budget at the correct spot as scheduled; people should have parked it there and timed it since the beginning of automation or even earlier. Preferable result is that people have ways to live on in any case just like today (maybe a bit polished though), but we just don’t have monetarian poverty and other systematicly inflicted symptoms around. No unproven caps / roof to restrict the flow of money either because a cap up-to-date hasn’t really been a cap, but a roadblock and wherever there is a roadblock, the people simply go through the bushes if they cannot climb above it or dig a hole under it. The only roof I need is on top of the walls which reside on the foundation of the abode. Even if we have the foundation ready, we need walls too and then the roof. With 3D-printing we can do this sooner or later much faster and efficiently; okay, back to the point.

      Job and innovation loss happens every now and then when a company (board of directors) fails their promises of any type of growth / evolution / development in relation to people who therein sense / breath / feed on something else than what is currently catered, but this also happens when it really keeps their promises too. Promise of industrialisation, e.g., was to free people from work. No one seemed to care and say to it to “stop liberating us” until recently.

      Just a note: I don’t see a jobless future as any of the worst cases. It would be a lot worse if you had no purpose or means to do it. If you want to safeguard a job for someone, best way is to let them do that for themselves. After all it is not the company which does the products and the development, but the people working there. An automated entity doesn’t need money, but the ones who automate do.

      My mind needs to slow down a bit.

    • avatar

      EU Reform- Proactive

      I agree and I do provide details and findings as I discover them. Intricacy of this network update is immense. This is why I would prefer Venus Project to take place amongst other reasons. In simplicity, I would not need to come up with an update suggestions to a monetarian system because the schematics of the whole Venus Project is already there and it is not a monetarian system to begin with (if Venus Project becomes reality, my research would be almost redundant). Anyway, I will keep people posted the more I learn.

      The Swiss project of BI$2,800 is a nice idea, but what I have learned in the past 5 years is that it is not the mass which we need to be aware alone. It is the velocity of the money in relation to the capacity and renewability of the environment which we also have to take into account; the accounting / budgeting itself is the key.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Thank’s Fable for trying your best!……..- ”the whole Venus Project is already there”…
      Yes, in trouble, up for sale and in argument with the “Zeitgeist movement”!

      Fable, I am afraid but everything seems very distant utopia- maybe becoming reality once humans advanced & are able to resettle on a distant galaxy.

      Such a project has to work nowadays or the near future for socially disadvantaged folks- like in bombed out Syria, a slum in India’s Kolkata or to improve the jungle of Calais or similar- not for well off & possessed architects & academics.

      Why not take a vacation, go skiing , base jumping or deep sea diving to re charge your batteries? Good luck my friend!

    • avatar

      EU Reform- Proactive

      I am pleased that it gives out that impression. I would be ‘surprised’ if it didn’t give that image. I would therefore ask if there is something to ponder in it that isn’t so clear or perhaps there is something we need to change and so on. I occasionally do ask questions like these even when the opposite happens. It is nice to get to know ideas and how they ought to work.

      “Show me how your system works and I tell you why it does.”

      However the project isn’t utopia and the technology is already at least partially in place. In my definition a utopia is an ideal picture of how something behaves, but we never get them to work exactly so. Venus project is not about ideals per se. It is based on what is optimal and that is the premise of which is used as a foundation to build on. People have ideals; we just need to find out a way to make them optimal i.e. a stable, nascent and adaptive assembly in comparison to its other states in relation to the environment(s). Similar to a software update. There are the old releases, the currently stable release and a beta, alpha, stress-test releases and the like. Earth is the operating system and our societies are the apps. To us humans the societies are the operating systems and we are the apps.

      The project is already underway, but not so remarkably as to make e.g. one segment out of a whole city structure as suggested in Venus project. That will happen eventually along the line of progress. We will see the ability of us to dublicate the segments or 3D-print them which is the term used today sooner or later. We as species are currently in a situation where we are able to print small more or less useful gadgets and build intricate robotics. Soon I’d like to see a single house of 100 squares, inside structure more or less included, to be printed in one hour and a personal drone assistant which we can use to speak to the robots in order to give them requests.

      I am optimistic around this, but I cannot wait for someone to implement the project 100% into reality for me. For that I have taken measures to help adjust this current application i.e. system of economics so that it is more compatible with the encoded upgrade along with its updates. Partially this is a reason why I have found myself in this system-design train so to speak.

      Another more fascinating reason is because I like motion. When I look at anything, I wonder how it seems to move, spin and so on. I want to know how the relationship between two items work and through this I usually end up understanding the whole build of things up to a point. This point is usually a headache produced through heavy deduction which is basicly a discovery-oriented thinking practised so far into the distance and for so long that my brains have a hard time to cool down.

      A third reason is that I have designed 2D games to my siblings when I was around 16-20 years old. My efforts were drained along the process and out of approximately 20 unfinished games I got 2 or 3 finalised stand-alones for them on a Windows operating system. If I had, for example, a group of 5 doing those with me, we would have made the number of finalised games higher due division of effort and talent. This was when people used The Games Factory to make games. Nowdays we perhaps tend to use engines similar to Unity and Unreal.

  5. avatar

    In my opinion is just about how the resources are used. We somehow get into talking about money, taxes and somehow forget about what resources mean. We forget the goals and reamin engaged into the monetary games.
    It is time to see money no more important than we see meters, or kilograms. Money is just means to measure.

    • avatar


  6. avatar
    Olivier Dutreil

    I dont care about social inegality i care about chance inegality….if people dont want ro work at school or in life and are poor i dont care

  7. avatar
    Colin Jennings

    There is only one solution…less people. Financial inequality, branded by the left, is a fact of life and human reality, it has always been that way and always will. What we need is to spread the wealth over less people and not be reliant on continuous growth that destroys everything…except the power inside poor government.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Colin Jennings
      What would be your culling criteria?

  8. avatar
    Sérgio Araújo

    I’m 100% with the european Social-Democrats. We must invest in children if we want a more equal Europe in the Future.
    You should follow what Eurochild as to say about this topics.

  9. avatar
    Marcel de Bie

    A basic minimum wage across the whole EU is an interesting dream and reminds me of a discussion I had with a Dutch coach driver who was complaining about the fact that Portuguese coach drivers were doing the same job (in his country) for less than he would. Asked what the solution should be, he said “pay him the same as I get”. That’s really interesting because that would make the Portuguese coach driver the richest man in his village, earning close to what the Mayor of a middle size town would be earning, or 3X the amount of a highly qualified engineer. So, a minimum wage across the whole of the EU is not really very sensible.
    What you really need to do to decrease inequality is to CREATE JOBS!

    • avatar

      In the example it is forgotten to compare the moving part in the whole system, not just from one part or two. The payment would stay the same if the currency is traded into such which evolves similarly in relation to a mutual principle e.g. price range of the target country. You would get the exact same amount back if you decided to trade the currency back to one that you had in the first place.

      The reason why a Portuguese coach driver would become the richest man in his own village is because he does the job outside his own village and the currency in his own village is poorer in comparison to the place he works in to begin with.

      Currency outside his village evolves in relation to e.g. the prices and thus in comparison the currency in his own village has to evolve more or less through a different principle if the driver gets more of this currency when traded from the one he got in the first place.

  10. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    If you are the culpits of social inequality in Europe, is silly to ask yourselves what to do. Besides, you know what people want…cut corruption, cut politicians, cut YOUR salaries and privilegs

  11. avatar
    Fátima Pio

    When i listen all of them, i can choose a small part of their speaches and agree with all, but basically, what we are leaving is the opposit of what they say Europe should be. So, mostely what we need are, real honest people, who whant’s to change mentalities and work together to get the same level of opportunities for all, not just for a few that can pay education, wealth and good food. That’s the beggining, i think was the idea of who invented European Union.

    • avatar

      I was able to do the same. I think that the same idea may have been behind the concept of United States of America.

  12. avatar
    Andrej Němec

    The solution is to limit by law the interest rates of ANY loan. The essence of capitalism that foster inequality is the accumulation of the capital as a consequence of interest rates. A ceiling of 5% could reduce capital accumulation and force capitalists to invest in the real economy funneling job creation. I believe it’s a realistic and feasible proposal.

  13. avatar
    Irene Constantinou

    None of the representatives gave me a good answer!!!! I am very sorry for that it leaves a bitter taste in my memory!!!!!

    • avatar
      Roi Skara

      Indeed..such a hot topic and the repsentatives with no real and realistic plan to present with..a pity…only bla blas

  14. avatar
    Olivier Dutreil

    I dont care about poverty.we have the best social support policy in the world free education and hospital.poor can move their asia they do it without any support.

  15. avatar
    Rosół Mateusz

    You cannot cut social inequality ;) People are different and always will. We can try to be better every day life. Thats all.

  16. avatar
    Christos Apostolidis

    You cannot eliminate inequality but you can try by creating jobs.. with minimum wage sufficient to live on … dah, EU trying to re invent the wheel

  17. avatar
    António Barreto

    Giving to everybody the real same opurtunities on education, stoping the corporation control of the jobs and buzniss, putting the public adminstration at the servce of the citiziens.

  18. avatar
    Ricardo Silva

    It’s maddening that so few of the MEPs give concrete answers and show so little knowledge of the topic.

    Balancing incomes wasn’t even mentioned. What about real income tax across the union? What about limiting public salaries, starting with the MEPs? Income varies widely throughout the union and this is one of the main causes of stress for a shaky monetary union. A minimum wage will mean nothing and will indeed be counterproductive with these differences. Leveling from the top is much more realistic economically.. Just not politically.

  19. avatar
    Christina Stockinger

    stop it – social inequality is simply no more necessary under the given circumstances, it continues because some people are too stupid to accept that life cannot continue with such social inequality

  20. avatar

    How about goin for equity instead of equality?
    Just think that the society we are in now is the result of the choices and actions each one of us has taken. It is the result of the values we promoted overall.
    I believe that ensuring minimum feeding, living, studying and health conditions for all is a must (now I am thinking about the wasted food). On the other hand who wants to get involved more into social and economical development can choose to work more.
    I learned that it really means a lot when the effort that someone puts into a project/activity is recognized.

  21. avatar
    catherine benning

    As the objective of present politics is to reduce Europeans to the level of third world poverty, only those in power can change their modus operandi. We are collectively, right across Europe, becoming poorer by the day. At the same time being forced to accommodate more liability and all dependants produced by that policy. Whilst the top 62 billionaires double their money daily.

    If they, our politicians, decide the way for their wealth to increase is to bet on lame horses and neglect worthy front runners, to the point where they cannot win the race, then the single answer to that enigma is, for worthy runners in that race to turn into non starters. In other words, workers must refuse to run, stop playing the game. Either that, or face destruction.

  22. avatar
    Mike Oxlittle

    Here’s an idea to cut poverty i’ve been touting for years.Give me one billion euros and in return I will donate a large percentage of the money(i’m famous for my generosity) to various deserving charities dealing with social inequality.

  23. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    Above referrals to the “Oxfam Foundation” a “business” confederation of 17 charity orgs to alleviate global poverty- raises interesting questions.

    Oxfam 2013/14 annual report shows a total expenditure of €915 mio, a profit of €25 mio and net assets of €320 mio. Not to suggest to undermine good efforts- just another way to earn a living from poverty- by sensational comparisons etc.

    Usually “billionaire” funds are tied down in transparent, official and productive job creating ventures and industries. They are not lying around as cash- to be harvested by radicals!

    What is obscene is all the hot moneys, looting of government coffers, assistance by banks in money hiding, laundering, tax avoidance scams & tax havens. All based on dishonesty while furthering poverty!

  24. avatar
    Adrian Limbidis

    CRUSH Switzerland and Lichtenstein and Monaco and other “tax havens”.

    Create a BASIC INCOME EU-wide – with small variations to discourage economic migration from a poorer region to a richer one.
    TAX FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS – a study has shown that a mere 3% tax on EVERY financial transaction on the stock market would get enough fund to provide for said basic income.
    Furthermore, the radical left is right – there is TOO MUCH control in the hands of TOO FEW.
    What we need is to difuse power.
    And wealth generating engines as well.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      …………..a m e r e 3% ???…….where?… Bulgaria?
      Nobody on earth- from the US to the staunchest communist wealth destroyer- ever proposed such “mere” figure!

      Ever inquired was the differences in the saving interest rates in the Eurozone, EU, Europe & globally are- compared with implemented or proposed FTT? (“Robin Hood taxes”) Study first the pro & cons carefully please!

  25. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @EU Reform- Proactive
    I hope that FTT works out well and that each country can spend its well-gotten gains on its own turf.

    • avatar
      EU reform- proactive

      Hi Tarquin, compliments for the 2016 season!

      Your hope is shared- in support of a reasonable & already imminent implementation of a 0,1% tax for equities- not wild “3% rumors”!
      Sorry not to be brief again! The complexity of present money reality:

      Governments are always entrepreneurial to tax something new- which usually goes into a- not “ring fenced”- bottomless pit and “wasted” somehow! Now equities have been discovered- hit the rich- save the poor- sounds very just! Yes, for some!

      Nobody encourages or is able to “old fashioned” save anymore. A dirty word! A “savings account” in Europe gets “rewarded”- (in fact penalized) by an average of ~1.5%/year, depending on country & bank. The risk of a probable % loss of ones capital in a savings account by overextended banks (due to fractional reserve, creating endless credit- backed by more book credit) forces many “astute” (middle income) investors/savers onto the stock exchange- together with the real rich & professional traders who are using long algorithms to beat everyone. Pensions are invested in stocks too.

      The zero % interest regime and endless credit creation backed by nothing- “invested” to chase up script, will end in nothing and much pain for Mr. average!

  26. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    Abolishing poverty is a must. However a wealth cap is also required. Nobody needs to have billions or trillions. It puts the whole world at the mercy of a few with their severe lack of ethics and unethical or uncaring agendas. That money could be used for green energy, the abolishment of poverty globally and the end of human exploitation and abuse globally. Also the earths resources belong to everybody not to a handful of corporations.

  27. avatar

    Social justice. Not giving out money to the less fortunate but rather creating equal opportunities. That’s the key!

  28. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    EU is spending time and money on to solve problems with banks , oil and Arabs . EU should fight for own citizens and invest in wind , solar and electrical cars . Some people in the EU parliament fight for “poor refugees ” , strange love for ISIL and ignorance for those people :

  29. avatar
    Ivaylo Ivanov

    ALDE. Education is the key.

    03/07/2018 Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, has responded to this comment.

    03/07/2018 Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, has responded to this comment.

  30. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Social inequality is real and can be compensated with some extra effort: the bigger the challenge the greater the achievement. It’s also a convenient excuse for not making any effort.

  31. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    The solution can’t be simple because of freeloaders and tax dodgers. UK left EU because they were afraid of social freeloaders but they wanted the experienced foreign workers to remain even after Brexit. On the other hand we see that the corporate world sees every opportunity to cut it’s taxes thus making the social inequality even more deep because SME’s and the workers are the one to contribute most to the national budgets therefore they can’t be the recipients and be aided more than they give.

  32. avatar
    Massimo Ortale

    With a social welfare system, on the model of the scandinavian countries extent to all the EU members. I want a single tax and welfare system with a Minister charged to armonized all the 27 different welfare system into one.

  33. avatar
    Stefania Portici

    a me non dà fastidio che ci sono i ricchi a me dà fastidio che ci sono i poveri , dunque non parlerei di disegualianza ma di giustizia sociale.

    I do not bother you that there are the rich, it bothers me that there are poor people. So I would not speak of inequality will but of social justice

  34. avatar
    Ainhoa Lizar

    Nationalise the banks and big companies: mass media, electrical, water and so on… Everyone should have basic services ensured by the country with a minimum payment: homes, water, electricity, health, schools… laws have to be changed the way that everything is done publicly so the people knows where the money goes and where it comes from. No one should be allowed to be in politics for more than 5 years and all privilege should be cut off. Politics and to rule a country should not be a carrier it should be considered public service. It´s the only way to end the corruption the moral decay and the interest games and lobbies and all the trash we have to live in now… And of course no open borders. Only legal immigration. Wars should not be allowed. If everyone mind their own business there are no migrants and everyone can live freely.

  35. avatar
    Yulia Amariei

    So many words…
    People, shut up! and get some minutes if not hours to listen to your heart & soul. That’s the way we might be able to stop inequality.
    One: Stop talking too much nonsens…”taxes, banks, systems”, all nonsens.
    Listen to the silence – It talks!

  36. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    Stop the race to the bottom in prices, salaries, benefits, etc. This is the rhetoric of the greedy and useless.

  37. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Fight corruption , stop financing religious organisations , make lobbying illegal , develop industry for the future : electric cars , solar panels production .

  38. avatar
    Peter Nicko'lay Canseeheart

    By doing personal things that affect the issue and expecting a collectiveness. We must adapt or accept everything. We need to stop ourselves in things that matter being stopped and we need to stop other’s if needed. We need to grow the “right” future and still it must be really right. It connects everything.

  39. avatar
    Faddi Zsolt

    Minimum income for everyone. It means: minimum income for everyone, including those who are working and already has incomes.

  40. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    The solution is a guaranteed minim income EU-wide for a more social EU. It is ok to subsidise mega-corporations with tax payer money, pay for projects in outer space, pay wages and frivolous expenses of people in government jobs, pay for EU coast Guards, biometrics for refugees and the rest. Now tax the mega-rich who don’t need tax breaks, close the tax evading loopholes and abolish poverty and boost the economy within each EU member country to help the people who are making these mega-corporations rich collectively via their spending and their taxes. It is time to give back to the people now.

  41. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    Pay women same salaries, encourage them to take up managerial positions and become CEOs.. For this to happen though, we must change how we view our modern families.. aka, offer paternal rights and responsibilities, aka paternal leave for fathers to take up more family responsibilities thus allowing women to enter the work place with less weight upon them…

    • avatar
      Bódis Kata

      Sweden is not a socialist country. It’s a market economy with a good social program — btw, they have messed that up recently.

    • avatar
      Faddi Zsolt

      There are many forms of socialism! The Hungarian and Soviet was a failure!

    • avatar
      Bódis Kata

      Wrong. You either have socialism or a market economy. It is possible to have a strong social program in any market economy – as in Sweden – but that still remains a market economy.
      Kindly get your definitions straight.

    • avatar
      Faddi Zsolt

      Socialism like Titoism was a very efficient method of avoiding unemployment! The goal was to keep the living standard high at any cost! It was successful! And then came the liberal fascist and made a bloody mess in ex-Jugoslawia.

    • avatar
      Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

      Bódis Kata economic development is not necessarily related to the state’s ideology for example Yugoslavia used to export cars (zastava) to western counties even to united states,socialism didn’t stop them from having investments in their country. .on the other hand we have the example of Israel. Israel is a western market economy that is based its agriculture department on the idea of collectivism the so called “kipuz” system. .so live isn’t always black or white 😉

  42. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Tax havens should be closed off all over the planet and the recaptured tax revenues would pay for the social costs of giving quality support for the indigent.

    NRW in Germany has huge refugees accommodations that’s left empty and is not open for the homeless. I wonder why local people deserve less support from a state than foreigners. >> Maybe homeless people should be allowed to ask for asylum, too.

  43. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Tax havens should be closed off all over the planet and the recaptured tax revenues would pay for the social costs of giving quality support for the indigent.

    NRW in Germany has huge refugees accommodations that’s left empty and is not open for the homeless. I wonder why local people deserve less support from a state than foreigners. >> Maybe homeless people should be allowed to ask for asylum, too.

  44. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    Start at the root of the problem.
    Don’t brush the causes under the carpet!
    Answer these first:
    – where does inequality come from?
    – how did it start?
    – what perpetuates it?
    – who drives inequality?
    … and a few more questions…
    By answering these you will figure out how to cut it.

  45. avatar

    Start at the root of the problem!
    Don’t brush the causes under the carpet!
    Answer these first:
    – where does inequality come from?
    – how did it start?
    – what perpetuates it?
    – who drives it?
    … and a few more questions…
    By answering these you will figure out how to cut it.

  46. avatar
    Chris Pavlides

    Productive independence on local scale. Opportunities for all. Real education and social support. A new human oriented value system.

  47. avatar
    Julia Hadjikyriacou

    A guaranteed minimum income EU-wide. Same minimum wage EU wide. Free higher education and healthcare EU wide. The EU wants entrepreneurs and more educated, socially adept people so where is the free higher education like in Germany? An ethical, caring, equal EU who abolished poverty is what is required. Not student debt slaves that puts much youth either unable or unwilling to go on to higher education.

  48. avatar
    Dobromir Panchev

    Make sure big companies operating in EU pay all taxes, ban offshore companies. Minimum wage must guarantee good living in all EU states that means not only be able to pay for bills, but attend cultural events, educate , and so on. Inequality itself is something natural, but it’s extents today are unacceptable. Maybe part of this is that wealth is inherited and kids do not have equal start in life.

  49. avatar
    Viorika Motoi

    En este sigloXXI cuando tehnica y tecnologia a llegado a maximos sin precedentes vivir en tal desacuerdo social es absolutamende desgarador un trabajo de equparar todo los paises con energia propria limpia sin depender de la esclavitud del petrolio o del gaz de los demas seria primera medida importante luego diplomacia entre y con los paises emergentes y autogestion teritorial en cada pais no a la globalizacion !

  50. avatar
    Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

    Bódis Kata economic development is not necessarily related to the state’s ideology for example Yugoslavia used to export cars (zastava) to western counties even to united states,socialism didn’t stop them from having investments in their country. .on the other hand we have the example of Israel. Israel is a western market economy that is based its agriculture department on the idea of collectivism the so called “kipuz” system. .so live isn’t always black or white ?

  51. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Shut down tax havens, collect taxes and put the money into education and into launching startups or other small businesses. :o

  52. avatar
    Ether Traveler

    By elliminating the Evil-Monetary system and all mental agony around it. Pfff…what an waste of existence, don’t you all see?
    Well…take your time to think about it.
    Have a great SUNday!

  53. avatar
    Ether Traveler

    By elliminating the Evil-Monetary system and all mental agony around it. Pfff…what an waste of existence, don’t you all see?
    Well…take your time to think about it.
    Have a great SUNday!

  54. avatar
    Ether Traveler

    By elliminating the Evil-Monetary system and all mental agony around it. Pfff…what an waste of existence, don’t you all see?
    Well…take your time to think about it.
    Have a great SUNday!

  55. avatar
    Ether Traveler

    By elliminating the Evil-Monetary system and all mental agony around it. Pfff…what an waste of existence, don’t you all see?
    Well…take your time to think about it.
    Have a great SUNday!

  56. avatar
    Ether Traveler

    By elliminating the Evil-Monetary system and all mental agony around it. Pfff…what an waste of existence, don’t you all see?
    Well…take your time to think about it.
    Have a great SUNday!

    • avatar
      Stefania Portici

      ” il capoverso dell’articolo 3 è quello sull’uguaglianza. La prima parte, il primo comma dell’articolo 3 ripete la formula di tutte le Costituzioni ….che tutti i cittadini sono uguali dinanzi alla legge , indipendentemente dal sesso, dall’età , di religione ecc…Io ho fatto aggiungere un secondo comma, questo capoverso dell’articolo 3 cui dico però che le DIFFERENZE ECONOMICHE e SOCIALI che esistono fra i cittadini non rendono possibile di realizzare l’uguaglianza affermata in diritto . I cittadini quando c’è uno povero e uno ricco , uno è colto uno ignorante analfabeta ecc….sono disuguali qualunque sia il riconoscimento della legge . Quindi questo secondo comma dice che la Repubblica italiana ha il DOVERE di eliminare le disuguaglianze sociali . Se questo non sarà fatto, non ci sarà vera uguaglianza e quindi non ci sarà vera democrazia perchè i cittadini devono essere messi, i lavoratori in particolare , in condizioni di dare una partecipazione cosciente , effettiva alla direzione della cosa pubblica . Questo è l’articolo 3 capoverso. Tutte queste norme messe assieme ci configurano un tipo di democrazia, diverso da quello tradizionale, puramente parlamentare , puramente formale. Si danno le indicazioni che il Costituente ha voluto e ha tradotto in questi articoli , l’aspirazione ad una democrazia sostanziale “

  57. avatar
    Iván Marsh Whateley

    getting out the lobbies of the european parlament
    Spanish Mep Caught Favoring Pretty Lobbyist As Part of Sunday Times Scandal

  58. avatar
    Todor Dzhambazov

    Russians tried in 1917 but it didn’t work out very nice for them and other parts of the world with their influence…

    • avatar
      Vitaliy Markov

      The Russians used radical revolution rather than a democratic process.

    • avatar
      Todor Dzhambazov

      Unfortunately Vitaliy neither democracy, nor equality exists in this world

  59. avatar
    Chris Pavlides

    Local production of life basics, bridge taxation – education – opportunities gap towards advancement.

  60. avatar
    catherine benning

    How would you cut social inequality?

    Feast your eyes on how easy it was. That is of course if we all genuinely wish for equality. As long as it is national and not international, it worked exceedingly well and quickly. Unless it becomes international by those internationally following the direction, it should not be available to incomers who are only in there to feed off the welfare of the taxpayers who work to pay for it. Additionally it is a cultural ideology. The British unified under the appalling conditions they suffered during war.

    Of course, billionaires and globalists fear this kind of equality more than life itself. It removes the possibility of abuse by them to enrich themselves at their workers expense.

  61. avatar
    Maia Alexandrova

    Having in mind that the richest people in society are those who are in the national Parliaments, responsible for writing the laws, I doubt that they would have the will to change anything too much because this would certainly mean a considerable reduction of their own wealth.

    I think what is needed is a cap on personal wealth. For example, an individual should not be allowed to have more than 1 mln. Euro in total from all accounts held anywhere in the world. Any income over that should go in the state budget where it can be re-distributed for the needs of all people. In this way social inequality will be taken care of. One should not be allowed to have more than they would need to live comfortably. This would also eliminate greed and corruption and encourage more concern for others and the environment.

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