The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Olivier De Schutter, released a statement right ahead of the EU Porto Summit taking place today and tomorrow.

He expressed that the target on poverty proposed in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan is insufficiently ambitious, as the EU has over 90 million people and almost 20 million children at risk of poverty or social exclusion, an estimated 700,000 people sleeping on the streets, and 30.1 percent of people with disabilities at risk of poverty or social exclusion. He remarked that this target does not match the pledge of ‘no poverty’ made in Sustainable Development Goal 1. Moreover, there are neither consequences for missing the target nor accountability mechanisms. He affirms that Member States must develop realistic, transparent, and accountable national plans to meet these and other targets.

Equally, he affirmed that while the EU response to the COVID-19 crisis has been good, the Union must move beyond these immediate answers, and truly strengthen social resilience, putting human lives over economic policies that privilege competition between EU Member States. Moreover, in his opinion the EU must use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to rethink its fundamental economic rules. In that sense, the Porto Social Summit is a unique opportunity to generate a broad consensus for an EU-wide anti-poverty strategy that strengthens public services, combats homelessness, addresses in-work poverty, and ensures greater progressivity in taxation.

Similarly, at Eurodiaconia we call on Member States to endorse the headline targets and sub-targets of the Action Plan at the Porto Summit, but to commit to setting their own more ambitious targets to ensure that we build back better from this crisis. We invite you to read our report here.

Mr. De Schutter undertook an official visit to the European Union from 25 November 2020 to 29 January 2021, where Eurodiaconia contributed to two roundtable discussions. He will present its report on the visit to the Human Rights Council on 29 June 2021. To read his full statement, please go to the OCHCHR’s website.