Europe: Coronavirus must spark a rethink to prioritize “human life” over economic policies |

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Speaking before the European Union’s Porto Social Summit on 7 May, Olivier de Chater, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, noted that with more than 90 million people and nearly 20 million children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the Union, the Plans to counter him “insufficient ambition”.

The Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights commits to reducing this number by 15 million and 5 million, respectively, by 2030.

“It does not come close to the ‘No to poverty’ pledge in Goal 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 1)”, He said.

Moreover, there are no consequences for not having the goal or governmental accountability mechanisms to implement the commitments.

Mr. de Chatter stressed that “the European Union should demand that member states develop realistic, transparent and accountable national plans to achieve these and other goals.”

Really Enhance Flexibility

The European Union reacted swiftly to the Covid-19 The pandemic, including raising budget rules for member states to spend above legal maximum levels, providing billions in loans and grants, and making proposals to guarantee children’s rights and gender equality.

But the UN expert stressed that more is needed to “truly strengthen social resilience.”

He pointed out that about 700,000 people sleep on the streets every night, painting a picture of poverty and social exclusion in the European Union, which 30.1 per cent of people with disabilities face, about 21 per cent of the general population and 22.5 per cent of the mass. children.

The Special Rapporteur described these numbers as “unacceptable” and urged measures to alleviate poverty in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that “are not being replaced by blind economic policies” that encourage social and tax competition and impose strict deficit controls.

Institutional withdrawal

Mr. de Schutter said that despite being employees, nine million workers remain in poverty due to expanded non-standard forms of employment and lower wages, describing this as an “institutional race to the bottom” among member states, which “in the name of competitiveness” leads to Lower wages and protection of workers.

“The European Union must address this harmful competition as part of its efforts to combat poverty and protect social rights,” he said.

Since 2009, bloc members have reduced investments in social protection, health and education, leaving them ill-prepared for the pandemic.

He added that the European Union itself, until very recently, recommended many of these budget cuts to ensure compliance with its budget rules.

Stand up for social rights

Although these rules have now been relaxed, the UN expert has expressed concern that countries using a new EU recovery fund to increase social investments might, in fact, be penalized once EU rules on the deficit ceiling are returned.

“This would be a defeat for social rights,” he said. “The European Union should use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to rethink its basic economic rules.”

Mr. de Chatter expressed his hope that the upcoming summit would lead to “a broad consensus for an EU-wide anti-poverty strategy that strengthens public services, combats homelessness, addresses poverty at work, and ensures greater progress on taxation.”

Designated by the United Nations Human Rights Council On May 1, 2020, Mr. de Chatter and all other human rights experts are not United Nations staff members and are not paid for their work.

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