A holistic approach to eradicating poverty, which seeks to ensure adequate incomes, quality jobs and better access to social services and services of general interest, was advocated by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Wednesday.Eight per cent of EU workers are at risk of poverty. Although having a job is the bestdefence against poverty, it is not always a guarantee, stresses the own-initiative report byGabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL, DE) on Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, including child poverty, in the EU.
An adequate income
Some of the 27 Member States have a minimum income scheme, but others do not. MEPs encourage Member States to provide for guaranteed minimum income schemes for social inclusion.
Minimum income schemes should be complemented by support measures to facilitate social inclusion e.g. in housing, education, training, and lifelong learning, and income support schemes to help cover the costs to individuals and households, say MEPs.
Member States should also provide targeted additional benefits for disadvantaged groups (people with disabilities or chronic diseases, lone parents or households with many children), to cover extra costs such as those of personal support and the use of medical care.
Children and young people make up almost one-third of the EU population and 19 million children are at risk of poverty.
MEPs want child poverty reduced by 50% by 2012, and urge Member States to allocate sufficient resources to achieve this goal. They also back an approach based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Lastly, MEPs call on the Council to agree an EU-wide commitment to end street homelessness by 2015. Member States are urged to provide integrated policies to ensure access to quality and affordable housing for all and to devise "winter emergency plans".
Procedure: own-initiative. The report was adopted with 46 votes in favour, 2 against and no abstentions.
10/09/2008In the chair : Jan ANDERSSON (PES, SE)