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Martin Schulz pledges to fight for children’s rights as Commission President

Martin meeting a young socialistDuring the financial crisis, the number of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe went up by almost 1 million, with an increase of around half a million in just one year between 2011 and 2012, reaching a dramatic number of 27 million. Even in Europe’s richest countries, children’s rights are not always respected – as shown in Save the Children’s new European report, “CHILD POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION – A matter of children’s rights,” launched in Brussels 

“Europe has been so focused on banks and large-scale companies that it neglected the children in need throughout the EU. The main determinant of child poverty is household income. The crisis exacerbated inequalities in Europe and as result, children are suffering. As Commission President I will focus on creating decent jobs and boosting growth to lift Europe’s households out of poverty. I will also ensure the introduction of a European wide minimum wage to tackle the issue of low household income.” Martin Schulz stated when commenting on the report. “But money isn’t the only factor here. Children’s rights such as access to basic public services, to health care and quality education are being violated. This I will not stand for as Commission President. It’s completely unacceptable that millions of children are living at risk poverty in the world’s wealthiest continent.

Children born in economically and socially disadvantaged households, with disabilities and those from a migrant or minority background are more likely to start their lives at a disadvantage. Furthermore, children growing up in poverty are less likely to acquire the skills and capabilities that will enable them, to break the cycle of disadvantage, and contribute, during the lives, to the overall economic and social wellbeing of society according to the report. Furthermore, children growing up in poverty are less likely to acquire the skills and capabilities that will enable them, to break the cycle of disadvantage, and contribute, during the lives, to the overall economic and social wellbeing of society.

“We have to give children the support they need so they can reach their full potential. Investment in children isn’t only morally right, it’s economically, politically and socially sensible. It is the only sustainable way of overcoming inequalities in the long term and of achieving a just and equal society as a whole.” Schulz continued “We need a coordinated strategy of all EU Member States to tackle child poverty and inequalities in Europe through ensuring employment and adequate minimum income for families, high quality education and strengthening universal health care systems. Without adequate resources and concrete actions, political commitments to children will remain nothing but empty promises!”

Read the full Save the Children report here.

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