According to a new report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA), It is almost impossible to assess how the European Union contributes to Member States’ efforts to reduce child poverty. A press release by the ECA dated September 29 stated that the relevance and strength of EU instruments examined are limited because they are not legally binding – and more powerful tools, such as the European Semester or support from EU funds, rarely address child poverty specifically. It is thus difficult to determine whether EU action contributes effectively to efforts to tackle this important concern, say the auditors.
The press release further stated: “Almost one in four children in the EU is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Yet studies have shown that the economic benefits of investing in children significantly outweigh the initial financial costs. In the EU, the fight against child poverty lies in the hands of each Member State. The European Commission’s role is to complement and support national child poverty actions through both legal and financial instruments. The auditors sought to assess how effectively EU action using these tools has contributed to Member States’ efforts.”
“Child poverty remains a serious issue in the EU which is not conducive to a sustainable, inclusive and fair society. Unfortunately, child poverty is likely to become even more prevalent in the aftermath of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis”, said Tony Murphy, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “It is therefore imperative that future EU funding and policy initiatives for tackling child poverty are based on reliable information to ensure a positive impact on the level of child poverty in the EU”.