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Parliamentary questions
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29 November 2017
E-006037/2017(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-006037/2017

The Commission shares the concerns of the Honourable Member as regards the situation of vulnerable children in Europe.

Policies to fight poverty and social exclusion are primarily a competence of the Member States (MS). The Commission helps and supports them in their efforts through policy guidance(1), exchange of good practices and funding. In the 2014-2020 period, a minimum of 20% of the European Social Fund’s budget has been earmarked for social inclusion projects in the Member States, from which disadvantaged children are likely to benefit(2).

In recent years, the Commission has enhanced its monitoring of MS' social policies, including of the social expenditure for children and families. The adoption in April 2017 of the European Pillar of Social Rights(3) will strongly contribute to this effort. Principle 11 of the Pillar focuses on the right to affordable early childhood education and care of good quality as well as on the right to protection from poverty.

The implementation of these and the other principles of the Pillar, will be discussed with the Member States, in particular during the European Semester process. In this context, progress will be monitored with the help of the newly designed Social Scoreboard(4)#. At the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of 23 October in Luxembourg, EU Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs expressed their unanimous endorsement of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

In the 2017-2018 period, the Commission will implement the preparatory action voted by the European Parliament in order to look at the feasibility of a possible child guarantee scheme(5).

(1)2013 Commission Recommendation on ‘Investing in children; breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ http://ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/files/c_2013_778_en.pdf
(2)25.6% of the total European Social Fund (ESF) allocation of EUR 86.4 billion is earmarked for social inclusion measures and all Member States have to allocate at least 20% of ESF resources to social inclusion. The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) makes available EUR 3.8 billion which can be used to address the specific needs of children exposed to material deprivation. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) also allocates EUR 11, 9 billion for social inclusion measures which may target children.
(3)https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/deeper-and-fairer-economic-and-monetary-union/european-pillar-social-rights_en
(4)https://composite-indicators.jrc.ec.europa.eu/social-scoreboard/
(5)04 03 77 25 ‘Preparatory action — Child Guarantee Scheme/Establishing A European child guarantee and financial support’

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