Despite a rise in wealth in the European Union, poverty in this 28-strong bloc is still relatively high hitting 16.9% of its 508 million inhabitants, and Croatia has a poverty rate of 20%, it was said at a round table discussion held in Zagreb on Tuesday by two local nongovernmental organisations and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), a consultative body of the EU.
Nino Zganec of the Croatian Anti-Poverty Network said that 20% of Croatian citizens cannot provide for their basic needs.
Zganec called for a series of new laws in the social welfare area to change things for better. Currently, we have only one law on social welfare and it is insufficient, he warned.
Social welfare should not be perceived as spending but as an investment in human capital. Social welfare benefits should be aimed at helping people not to become poor, Zganec said.
EESC rapporteurs Seamus Boland presented a report on steps taken to fight poverty in the EU. The document shows that 27.1 percent of children in the Union are at a risk of poverty.
EESC urges the EU Council to reiterate the poverty reduction commitment made in the Europe 2020 and to take into account the Sustainable Development Goals.