European Child Guarantee: PES celebrates adoption of policy to eradicate child poverty

14/06/2021

The Council of the EU today adopted the European Child Guarantee, successfully concluding years of campaigning for the policy by European socialists.

EU Member States now have guidance and access to European funds to improve the lives of the one in five children in Europe who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“No child should live in poverty. For years we have been pushing for this policy because we know it will help to eradicate suffering and hardship for the youngest in society. Poverty is not normal or natural. It is the shameful product of an unequal society.

“Today we secured EU tools and dedicated money to improve the lives of vulnerable children. After years of campaigning, after so many debates and votes, the European Child Guarantee is in place.

“Our message is the real work starts now. It is stain on our societies that so many children do not have enough food, or a roof over their head, or access to decent education and healthcare. Through the European Child Guarantee we can change that. Socialists will never stop fighting to eradicate child poverty.”

The socialist family presented the Child Guarantee in 2014 to fight child poverty across Europe. It was a key demand in the PES manifesto for the 2019 European elections. Since then, the policy has been pushed ahead in the European Commission by Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and championed in the European Parliament by the S&D Group. Thanks to the hard work of S&D MEPs Agnes Jongerius and Brando Benifei, socialists manage to ensure money was earmarked in the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) specifically for the European Child Guarantee.

The European Child Guarantee constitutes a commitment by Member States to offer children at risk of poverty or social exclusion effective and free access to high quality early childhood education and care, education and school-based activities, at least one healthy meal each school day and healthcare, as well as effective access to adequate housing and healthy nutrition. Member States with an above-EU-average rate of under-18s at risk of poverty or social exclusion (2017-2019) must allocate at least 5% of their ESF+ resources, under shared management, for anti-poverty and anti-social exclusion activities. Member States must now submit their Child Guarantee action plans, led by a National Child Guarantee Coordinator.

The EU has set a target – through the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan - to reduce the number of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion by at least five million by 2030.