(10 September 2015) – Europe has never been richer, and yet never has it had so many poor people, says the NGO Oxfam in a report published yesterday.
In 2015, people across Europe are suffering unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality. European countries may pride themselves on being stable democracies that look after their citizens, but the EU faces levels of poverty and exclusion, which most people would consider unacceptable in the 21st century.
Instead of putting people first, policy decision making is increasingly influenced by wealthy elites who bend the rules to their advantage, worsening poverty and economic inequality, while steadily and significantly eroding democratic institutions.
Austerity measures and unfair tax systems across Europe are skewed in favour of powerful vested interests. It is time to reverse the course of poverty and inequality in Europe, putting people first.
Within the prosperous nations of the European Union, 123 million people are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, representing almost a quarter of the population, while almost 50 million people live with severe material deprivation, without enough money to heat their homes or cope with unforeseen expenses.