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AGF Comment on the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion

 

[5. 4. 2011] The AGF appreciates the first concrete objective of the European Union to reduce the poverty figures in the EU. It considers the political announcements of the German Federal Government, nevertheless, to be insufficient and demands adequate measures against poverty and social exclusion.

 

The AGF appreciates that the European Union has clearly committed itself to poverty reduction. We support the initiation of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion. The AGF itself has taken a clear stand on the issues of poverty and social exclusion within the past years.

The AGF has commented on the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion and has taken stand on the plans of the European Union and the contribution, the German Federal Government plans to make on the fight against poverty. In this comment the AGF expresses its disappointment on the shortcomings in both goals and concepts.

 

Concerning Germany, the AGF criticizes the far too little ambitious goals of the Government, which base on a "creative" and arbitrary use of indicators and calculation. By the exclusive use of the indicator “long-term unemployment” (more than 12 months without a job), other important causes of poverty will get out of scope completely, such as the problem of the “working poor” and the alarming figures of children and young people stricken by poverty. They don’t only live in households without a job but also in households with single parents, in immigrant families and in families with more than two children. Also hidden poverty and old-age poverty is neglected.

 

In Germany, the number of the long-term unemployed shall be reduced by 20 percent compared to the figures of 2008. Since there were 1.6 Million long-term unemployed persons in Germany back in 2008, the goal would be to reduce the number by 330.000. Considering the persons statistically living in one household (two persons), according to the German calculations some 660.000 people would no longer face poverty. Even with the strange calculation the German goals fall short. If the German Government was interested in making a significant contribution to achieving Europe's objectives, it would have to lift about 2.6 Million people out of poverty and social exclusion (16,7% of 16 Million). If all countries will follow Germany's example, the target of a reduction in the number of 20 Million would not be reached.