The European Court of Auditors is conducting an audit of the EU’s deployment of policy and funding to combat child poverty in Member States.
Poverty and social exclusion – defined as living in a household at risk of income poverty, severe material deprivation or extremely low work intensity – affect almost 24 million children under the age of 18 across the EU. The bloc’s political agenda for the 2021-2027 period includes proposed provision for the drastic reduction of child poverty; and the European Parliament has called for an EU-wide Child Guarantee aimed at ensuring every child living in poverty in the EU has access to free healthcare, education, early years care, adequate housing and nutrition.
While Member States are individually responsible for addressing the issue of child poverty, the Commission and other EU-wide bodies have the option to complement national endeavours through financial and logistical support: supportive funding and policy instruments include the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Social Fund. The EU child poverty audit will examine in depth the actions taken by the European Commission to address the problem of child poverty during the 2014-2020 period. Auditors will assess:
- The effectiveness and appropriateness of the Commission’s deployment of EU funding to Member State initiatives designed to combat child poverty; and
- The efficacy of Commission support for EU-wide strategies and policies addressing child poverty.
Tony Murphy, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the audit, said: “Poverty is a reality for almost one in every four children in the EU. Relatively low-cost investment during childhood can yield a lifetime of gains, not only for those individuals, but also for society and the economy as a whole. Our audit conclusions and recommendations will assess the adequacy of how EU initiatives and funding support Member States to combat child poverty.”
The full EU child poverty audit report is due for release in 2020.