• Spain's news in English

Generation lost: Spain's kids 2nd poorest in EU

AFP/The Local · 28 Mar 2014, 09:35

Published: 28 Mar 2014 09:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A new report by Caritas depicted "an unfair Europe" struggling with "disturbing" poverty levels after studying the impact of the financial crisis in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

"The report depicts an unfair Europe, where social risks are increasing, social systems are being downsized and individuals and families are under stress," Caritas said in a statement.

"Cuts to public services disproportionately affect lower-income groups, and problems accessing healthcare are impacting negatively on people's health," its report said.

Child poverty in the European Union has increased from under 20 percent to more than 22 percent in the last three years, reaching 29.9 percent in Spain, said the organization's general secretary Jorge Nuño Mayer.

That puts the country only second to Romania and closely followed by Bulgaria and Greece.

Even Cyprus, long considered an affluent society, also has a poverty rate of over 29 percent among older people, the report said.

"Austerity measures have failed to solve problems and create growth," Mayer warned, adding that "the European project and cohesion in our societies is at stake."

Many unemployed and uninsured have turned to their families for help, particularly in southern Europe, but after years of recession, this resource is also running dry.

"Families are now exhausted, they cannot continue paying," Mayer said. "A second wave of poverty is expected... the negative impact can last for decades."

In Spain, the economy could take 20 years to recover to pre-crisis levels, he added.

The Spanish branch of Caritas meanwhile said the number of households living in extreme poverty in Spain rose to 1.5 million last year from 900,000 before the crisis hit in 2007.

The number of individuals in extreme poverty nearly doubled to 5.1 million in mid-2013 from 2.8 million in mid-2007, it said in a new report, calling the rise "unprecedented".

"There is a great risk that the progressive increase in inequality will become chronic in the long-term," it warned.

In Portugal, more than 200,000 people will have left the country by mid-2014, seeking a better future elsewhere, said Eugenio Jose da Cruz Fonseca, chairman of the local Caritas chapter.

Story continues below…

The report was unveiled in Greece, the first eurozone nation to require an international bailout in 2010 and arguably the hardest-hit by the crisis.

Caritas called for an urgent shift from financial to social goals, as it accused governments of failing to address the moral responsibility of banks for the crisis.

"The financial system must not be insulated from risk, with the consequent incentive to reckless behaviour," the report said. "The same is likely to happen again unless a different approach is taken."

Caritas has 164 member organizations working in 200 countries and territories around the world to provide food and assistance to the poor, immigrants and war victims.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.    

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available