17:08 GMT +316 October 2019
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    What Economic Recovery? Quarter of EU Citizens at Poverty Risk

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    The so-called economic recovery being experienced by a number of EU states has been called into question following new research that found a quarter of all EU citizens, and close to a third of young people, were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

    The study, conducted by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation think tank, found that 24.6 percent of people in the EU are "at-risk-of poverty or social exclusion" with the report noting the figures as being "extremely high and worrisome."

    Researchers said that this percentage of those judged to be a poverty risk corresponded to approximately 122 million people.

    Criticism of EU Elite

    The study has reinforced criticism of Europe's political elite, with many arguing that the perceived economic recovery of certain EU countries isn't being experienced in real terms.

    Many critics have argued that the implementation of austerity policies in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis penalized the poorer people in society and exacerbated the divide between the wealthy and poverty-stricken.

    Sweden, The Netherlands, Denmark and Finland were judged to be the best countries preventing people from slipping into poverty, while the findings also drew attention to the "enormous" divide between northern and southern European countries, with Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece faring particularly badly.

    "Social conditions and participation opportunities for people in most EU countries remain considerably worse than in the pre-crisis period.

    "In no less than 11 countries, among them Spain and Portugal, things have deteriorated once again compared to last year's survey," the report said.

    Young People Hit the Hardest

    When dissecting the results, 'The Social Justice Index' (SJI) found the impacts were more harshly felt by the EU's young population, with 26 million people under the age of 18 (27.9 percent) either living in poverty or lacking the means to fully integrate into society.

    The particularly concerning report found that many young people were living in "quasi unemployed households" or were experiencing "severe material deprivation."

    This concern also was extended to those people in their early 20s, with the report noting that in all countries except Sweden and Germany, there had been a deterioration in further education or employment opportunities.

    Bertelsmann Foundation chairman Aart De Geus said the EU was at risk losing a generation if social conditions did not improve.

    "We cannot afford a lost generation in Europe socially or economically. The EU and its member states must make great efforts to lastingly improve the chances of young people."


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