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ENOC 18th Annual Conference on The impact of austerity & poverty on the realisation of children & young people’s rights What do we need to do to tackle.

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Presentation on theme: "ENOC 18th Annual Conference on The impact of austerity & poverty on the realisation of children & young people’s rights What do we need to do to tackle."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENOC 18th Annual Conference on The impact of austerity & poverty on the realisation of children & young people’s rights What do we need to do to tackle child poverty and social exclusion in the European Union? HUGH FRAZER Maynooth University Coordinator, European Social Policy Network

2 Key Message A real moment of opportunity to make progress on tackling child poverty and social exclusion and promote children’s rights in EU – Growing awareness of scale of challenge – Growing fear for future of EU poverty is leading to rise in alienation, extremism, discrimination & narrow nationalism – Demographic imperative creates economic incentive – A stronger EU framework than ever before – Mid-term review of Europe 2020 Strategy - a chance to change direction But progress is not certain Key role for Ombudspersons for children in ensuring that we do not miss the opportunity

3 Basis for presentation Work of EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion Eurochild monitoring of the implementation of Europe 2020 Strategy EAPN/Eurochild explainer on child poverty European Social Network work on child poverty

4 Content Extent and impact of child poverty and social exclusion in the EU A stronger EU framework now exists for tackling child poverty What needs to happen if real change is to happen

5 Extent and impact of child poverty and social exclusion in the EU

6 Child poverty or social exclusion high and growing Overall over 1 in 4 children at risk Children at greater risk (28% v 24.8%) Wide range across EU (15%-52%) Increase by 1.1pp between 2008 and 2012 Risk higher for lone parent & large families Some children at very high risk: – Roma children – Children from migrant / ethnic minority background – Children with a disability – Children in institutional care – Homeless children

7 Persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE), Children (0-17) and total population, %, EU-28, 2012

8 Wide (& growing) divergence across EU Children aged 0-17 at risk of poverty or social exclusion, %, EU-28, 2012 Low 15-21% FI (14.9), DK (15.3), SE (15.4), SI (16.4), NL (16.9), DE (18.4), CZ (18.8), AT (20.9) Medium 22-30% EE (22.4), FR (23.2), BE (23.1), LU (24.6), SK (26.6), CY (27.5), PT (27.8), EU-28 (28.1),PL (29.3) High 31-35% MT (31.0), UK (31.2), LT (31.9), ES (33.8), HR (33.8), IT (33.8), IE (33.1), EL (35.4) Very high 40-52% LV (40.0), HU (40.9), RO (52.2), BG (52.3)

9 Economic crisis increasing poverty 2008-2012 upwards trends in children at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) – 19 MS statistically significant increases in proportion of children AROPE In 7 MS increases are in the range of 6-8pp BG, IE, HU, LV, EL, MT, CY. – Only 3 MS recorded significant decreases DE (1.7pp), PT (1.7pp) and PL (3.6pp).

10 Children in EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion

11 Material deprivation among children according to the Guio- Gordon-Marlier index (2012), Children aged 1-15, EU-27, 2009 Source: EU-SILC 2009; Guio et al. 2012. Reading note: threshold set at three or more items lacked out of the 18 items in index

12 Poverty damages children and puts their rights at risk Causes poor physical and mental health Endangers right to secure & nurturing family Impacts on social life: networks & participation Limits emotional, social & intellectual development Leads to educational disadvantage Affects future well-being & employment prospects Reduces children’s expectations, hopes & dreams

13 For a child living in poverty can mean not having enough to eat or a healthy diet; not being able to afford new clothes or decent shoes; not having the equipment that other children take for granted in their country such as books and equipment for school or leisure equipment such as a bicycle or skateboard; living in poor or overcrowded housing: sharing rooms and living in a cramped space; living with inadequate heating and in a home suffering from damp; lacking a quiet place with enough room and light to do homework; not being able to afford proper health care or high-quality child care or to go to a good school or to get help when needed; having little chance to play in decent non-vandalised playgrounds, to take part in sports and creative/cultural activities; having little say in the decisions that affect daily life.

14 Children’s voices “I close the window every evening, the smell of cooking from other flats makes me more hungry.” “My clothes are clean but old and others are laughing at me.” “I hate my birthday, because I never get presents like all the others.” “You may be a bit shy to invite your friends over because when they come in they’ll be freezing and they might want to leave early.” “If I look at my mother, how much she is working, she has 3 jobs, I never want to grow up & become an adult, it is too bad.” “I do not want to go to a school trip because I do not want to be a burden on my parents.” “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” “There’s no point in dreaming because things don’t come true anyway.” [Children from EE, HU, SE, UK, PL, EL]

15 Child poverty damages society Undermines social solidarity & cohesion Results in increased social costs – Higher demands on public services such as health services, welfare, social protection, – Higher unemployment – More crime & anti-social behaviour – Scottish study estimates ending child poverty save €16 billion p.a. Reduces economic productivity – Less skills lead to less productive jobs & more unemployment – Lower revenues form taxes

16 Stronger European Framework for Action on Child Poverty

17 Lisbon Treaty Lisbon Treaty (into force since 1 Dec 2009) Horizontal social clause, Article 9 (introduces the legal basis for mainstreaming social protection and social inclusion objectives across EU and national policies) ”In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health” Protection of children’s rights introduced among the EU’s objectives for its internal and external policies EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (could be a first step towards mainstreaming children’s rights in EU policies) EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child in 2011

18 Europe 2020 Strategy Overall objective: “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” Poverty target – reduce poverty & social exclusion by 20 million European Semester –Annual Growth Survey –National Reform Programme –Country Specific Recommendations and Staff Working Documents –Social OMC and National Social Reports

19 Social investment package 2013 “Welfare systems fulfil three functions: social investment, social protection and stabilisation of the economy. Social investment involves strengthening people’s current and future capacities.” Underlying principle: Social policies can be social investments: preventing hardship, developing human capital, and empowering and supporting people in crucial stages in their lives. 3 integrated pillars – Increase sustainability & adequacy of social systems through simplification & better targeting – Pursue activating & enabling policies through targeted & more effective support – Social Investment throughout the individual's life

20 Commission Recommendation Investing in Children – breaking the cycle of disadvantage Horizontal principles – Integrated strategies – Children’s rights approach – Child’s best interests – Balancing universal and targeted approaches – Special focus on children most at risk – Sustain investment and assess impact of policies


22 7 advantages of a rights approach 1. Key to the prevention of child poverty –if all children’s rights are respected and enabled then children are unlikely to live in poverty 2. Puts the needs of the child at the centre of policy-making. –becomes a core political obligation & not just a possible policy choice 3. Puts focus on addressing the specific needs of the child here and now as well as improving position of their families & communities 4. Provides framework for developing a comprehensive strategy –e.g. Sweden; 5. Links well-being of children with well-being of parents and families –puts support for families at the heart of policies to tackle child poverty 6. Puts focus on importance of strong anti-discrimination legislation 7. Emphasises the right of the children to be heard and to participate in the decisions that affect them

23 Commission Recommendation - 2 Integrated strategies - 3 pillar framework – Access to adequate resources Support parents in labour market Cash and in-kind benefits – Access to affordable quality services Early childhood education & care; Education – Preventing educational disadvantage Accessible health systems; Adequate housing & environment; Strong family support & alternative care – deinsititutionalisation – Children’s right to participate Play, recreation & cultural activities Participation in decision making

24 Failure of EU Framework to deliver

25 Economic austerity has undermined focus on social policies Social policies on periphery of European Semester – Limited coverage of social inclusion issues in most NRPs – Few Country Specific Recommendations on poverty issues – Lack of social or child impact assessments – Social dimension of EMU remains underdeveloped – Eurochild Assessments of European Semester efforts being made fall very far short of what is needed too narrow approach: not comprehensive and integrated – Weak Social OMC Commission Recommendation still to make real impact – Not mainstreamed in Europe 2020 Strategy – Member States with biggest challenges often one where implementation is weakest

26 10 most frequent barriers to implementing Commission Recommendation Lack of integrated/multi-dimensional strategies Limited mainstreaming of children’s rights Weak balance between universal & targeted policies Limited involvement of stakeholders Lack of evidence-based policy making

27 10 most frequent barriers to implementing Commission Recommendation Failure to protect children from impact of crisis Limited support for parents’ participation in labour market Inadequacy (cut-backs) of income support Lack of/cut back in investment in affordable services and poor access for most vulnerable Limited use of EU financial instruments

28 So what needs to happen now to combat child poverty?

29 Better integrate the Recommendation into Europe 2020 Specific section in the Annual Growth Survey each year All MS to include a specific section in future NRPs outlining their key priorities for implementing the Recommendation and reporting on progress Encourage MS to set specific sub-targets on child poverty and social exclusion More composite Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) on child poverty and social exclusion Set an EU child poverty and social exclusion target Review implementation at of the European Platform Against Poverty and Social Exclusion

30 Promote child well-being as a key part of the social dimension of EMU the issue of child poverty and social exclusion should be made a key part of reinforced surveillance of employment and social challenges and strengthened policy coordination

31 Put child well-being at heart of the Social Open Method of Coordination Social Protection Committee (SPC) and the European Commission develop a multiannual work programme to follow up on and implement Recommendation and to institute regular reporting and monitoring on progress all MS should elaborate in their National Social Reports (NSRs) on policies and programmes they are developing to implement the Recommendation

32 Child proof austerity policies Member States should be encouraged to put the issue of child poverty and well-being at the heart of austerity policies and bail out packages – use ex-ante and ex-post social impact assessments – assess impact on children of packages in programme countries

33 Enhance evidence-based policy making and target setting MS should further improve the collection and timeliness of statistical data on children, make full use of the unique potential offered by administrative and register data, and to complement quantitative data with (more) qualitative data where needed, for example on the number and living conditions of children in institutions; at EU level greater use should be made of the child-specific material deprivation EU indicator & to develop indicators and collect data for measuring child well-being as well as child poverty and social exclusion in the EU10; encourage all MS to develop a survey of children

34 Strengthen children’s rights approach the Commission and SPC should give careful consideration to how the implementation of the Recommendation and the reporting process associated with it can be brought into closer line with both the reporting processes that all Member States are required to follow in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the implementation of the Commission’s own EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child; the Commission and SPC should consider preparing guidelines for Member States on how a focus on children as rights’ holders can in practice be used to inform the development of policies for the social inclusion of children.

35 Improve the balance between universal and targeted approaches make the issue of progressive universalism a key theme in the exchange of learning and good practice as a means of highlighting positive examples in more successful Member States

36 Enhance the exchange of learning and good practice ensure that the Knowledge Bank gives a high priority to issues of child poverty and social exclusion New European Social Policy Network should report regularly on progress in Member States on the implementation of the Commission Recommendation Commission monitoring could usefully identify “clusters” of Member States facing similar child poverty and social exclusion challenges which could then be used as a basis for enhanced mutual learning (including Peer Reviews)

37 Reinforcing stakeholder participation develop guidelines for the involvement of stakeholders including people experiencing poverty in the development, monitoring and implementation of strategies and policies to prevent and tackle poverty and social exclusion – a specific section on involving relevant organisations working with children and children themselves – use guidelines to monitor Member States’ performance

38 Maximise the use of EU Funds for children Commission should challenge Member States, particularly those with high or very high poverty or social exclusion rates, to make the social inclusion of children a programming priority in the use of EU funds in the next programming period and it should stress the need to target funds at most disadvantaged children and families Commission should encourage Member States to use Structural Funds in a strategic manner as part of an overall strategy to tackle child poverty and social exclusion and to promote child well-being

39 What should happen in each Member State? See 28 country reports Investing in children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage – A study of national policies, by EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion. Available at: gId=en&newsId=2061&furtherNews=yes gId=en&newsId=2061&furtherNews=yes

40 Conclusion Let us raise our voices are raised to denounce the scandalous social injustice that it is the most vulnerable social groups and the most vulnerable children who have had to bear the brunt of the socialised costs for market failure. Let us all seize the opportunity and work together to eradicate child poverty and social exclusion and rebuild Europe as a social as well as an economic space. Let us insist on a Social Europe that is fit for all children and which guarantees and protects their rights and well-being

41 Some useful sources EAPN & Eurochild (2013), Towards Children’s Well-Being in Europe: Explainer on child poverty in the EU. Available at: publications/publications/eapn-books/towards-children-s-well-being-in-europe- eapn-and-eurochild-s-explainer-on-child-poverty-in-the-eu-is-out publications/publications/eapn-books/towards-children-s-well-being-in-europe- eapn-and-eurochild-s-explainer-on-child-poverty-in-the-eu-is-out Eurochild (2014), The 2014 National Reform Programmes and National Social Reports from a child poverty and well-being perspective. Available at: European Commission (2013), Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Available at: Frazer, Guio, Marlier, Vanhercke, Ward (2014) Putting the fight against poverty and social exclusion at the heart of the EU agenda: A contribution to the Mid-Term Review of the Europe 2020 Strategy. Available at: Frazer, Marlier and Nicaise (2010), A social inclusion roadmap for Europe 2020, Garant, Antwerp Frazer & Marlier (2014), Investing in children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage A study of national policies. Available at: erNews=yes erNews=yes

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