The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament finally reached a provisional agreement on a nearly EUR 88 billion European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), demonstrating a clear commitment to tackle child poverty.
The agreement compels Member States with a level of child poverty above the EU average (23,4% – AROPE 2017 – 2019) to allocate 5% of ESF+ resources to tackle child poverty. The agreement also calls on all Member States to allocate an appropriate amount of their ESF+ resources to combat child poverty.
These resources will be fundamental to financially support the European Child Guarantee, which the European Commission will propose in March, for approval by the Council in June. The Child Guarantee aims to improve the lives of children experiencing poverty and disadvantage, by ensuring access to free healthcare, education, early childhood education and care, nutritious meals and decent housing.
Over the last three years the joint efforts of civil society networks have successfully raised awareness in the European Institutions of the importance of investing in children.
This is a small yet important step. The European Parliament and the Council will now have to formally approve the ESF+ Regulation for it to enter into force.