Recommendations for the EU’s Post-2020 Budget to fight child poverty and social exclusion

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children, of which PICUM is a partner, has published recommendations on how the EU’s post-2020 budget should be used to fight child poverty and social exclusion.

Photo: Dreamstime ©Roman Bodnarchuk

Poverty severely impacts children’s health and their ability to develop their talents and capabilities, to establish relationships, and to learn. Undocumented children are disproportionately affected by poverty. If EU member states and EU institutions want to fulfil their commitment to work towards a social Europe, they need to firmly reduce poverty and invest in children and families in vulnerable situations.

In May, the European Commission adopted a proposal for the next multi-annual financial framework for the period 2021-2027. This includes the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) which provide some positive elements, but more should be done to strengthen the support EU funds can provide for children in vulnerable situations.

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children’s recommendations include:


  • Strengthen ESF+ provisions on reducing child poverty

Given the alarming rates of child poverty and social exclusion in the EU, the text of the ESF+ and CPR needs to include specific provisions to ensure that this objective is realised through appropriate actions and adequate resources. The text of the ESF+ regulation should strengthen the reference to children and children’s rights.


  • The ESF+ should take a rights-based and comprehensive approach, including by supporting the implementation of the whole European Pillar of Social Rights

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children emphasizes the need to use the ESF+ for strengthening the implementation of both the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the European Pillar of Social Rights, and to take a rights-based and holistic approach to tackling poverty and social exclusion.

The Alliance also recommends that, the ESF+ regulation should maintain its objective to promote social inclusion of those at risk of poverty, including children and aim to leave no one behind.


  • 30% of the ESF+ should be dedicated to social inclusion and poverty reduction

The Alliance recommends allocating at least 30% of the ESF+ to promoting social inclusion and reducing poverty. This would build on the current practice by member states and demonstrate the added-value of EU funds in building a more social Europe.

The resources included in the 30% of the ESF+ should primarily aim to enhance access to affordable, sustainable, high-quality services; combat discrimination; and promote the social inclusion of all children – including children without parental care – and families experiencing poverty and social exclusion and of migrants and marginalised communities, including Roma.


  •  Further alignment with the European Semester should not undermine social investment

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children recommends that a proper balance be ensured among social and macroeconomic objectives in the European Semester process, so that adequate investment for social inclusion and poverty reduction are guaranteed.

The European Semester – including its Country Reports – should have an important role to play in monitoring how Member States will implement the enabling conditions on a more regular basis.


  • Further promoting the participation of stakeholders, including civil society organisations

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have a key role in reaching people in vulnerable situations and the most disadvantaged. To support, monitor and report on implementation of EU and national policies CSOs need sufficient capacity and support. Member States should ensure adequate and meaningful participation of civil society organisations in planning, implementing and monitoring actions under the ESF+.

The Alliance for Investing in Children calls for 2% of the ESF+ to be earmarked for the capacity building of social partners and civil society organisations.

To view the full statement, click here.

Additional Information:

More information about the European Social Fund+ is available here.

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children includes 25 EU networks. The alliance works to promote child-centred, quality and comprehensive policies to tackle child poverty and promote child well-being. PICUM advocates for the rights of undocumented children within the alliance. To find out more, go to:

PICUM together with 35 other organisations previously published a statement recommending 8 ways to make the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework a vehicle for protection and integration of children in migration which is available here.

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