According to a survey conducted by the German Bertelsmann Foundation published on 15.9.2014, the gap in social justice, both between North and South, and between the generations, has been steadily growing, particularly during the crisis. With the new index for social justice, the Foundation has investigated six aspects. According to the survey, while there is still a high level of social integration in the affluent northern European countries, social injustice has increased in countries such as Spain, Italy and Hungary, with Greece occupying the last place out of the 28 Member States in the classification.
The analysis is particularly critical about growing intergenerational inequality, with 28% of young people at risk of poverty and social exclusion. In Greece, the youth unemployment rate is almost 60%.
In view of the above, will the Commission say:
|—||Can it confirm the data in the survey?|
|—||Four years after the adoption of the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy and taking into account these data, does it consider that it has achieved the goal of social inclusion — that is one of its five core objectives — or does it believe that points of the strategy need to be reviewed in order to close the gap in social inequality, both between North and South, and between the generations?|
|—||With regard to countries that are undergoing adjustment programmes, does it intend to analyse the situation and make recommendations based on the Annual Growth Survey?|
Answer given by Mr Andor on behalf of the Commission (31/10/2014)
The Commission can confirm the data cited in the Honourable Member's question. The share of youth and children (0-17 years) at risk of poverty or social exclusion across Europe was 28% in 2012(1). The unemployment rate for young people (15-24 years) in Greece is 52% in the 2nd quarter of 2014, down from 59% in the 2nd quarter of 2013(2).
Unfortunately, the EU is indeed moving away from reaching the Europe 2020 social inclusion target, as 4.4 million more people live in poverty or social exclusion across Europe in 2013 as compared to 2010. This is a consequence of the EU having gone through the worst social, economic and financial crises since the depression in the 1930s.
Levels of inequality within specific Member States recently received strengthened monitoring at EU-level including through the introduction of an inequality indicator (S80/S20) in the scoreboard of key social and employment indicators used in the draft Joint Employment Report, annexed to the Annual Growth Survey.
A mid-term review of the EU2020 strategy is currently taking place. The Commission has launched a public consultation, inviting Member States, citizens and relevant stakeholders to share their views on the strategy. The public consultation will end on 31 October 2014. Neither the outcome of the ongoing public consultation nor the presentation of its results can be pre-empted.
Countries undergoing adjustment programmes do not receive country specific recommendations to ensure focus on measures set out in the programme. However, the Commission carefully analyses their employment and social situation (also in Staff Working Documents issued during the European Semester) and takes such analysis into account when reviewing the adjustment programmes.
|(1)||Source: Eurostat EU-SILC.|
|(2)||Source: Eurostat EU-LFS.|