Answer given by Mr Andor on behalf of the Commission
The inclusion of a poverty reduction target in the Europe 2020 strategy led a number of Member States to set specific sub-targets relating to child poverty. A majority of them mentioned child poverty as an important challenge in their National Reform Programme (NRP) and the Joint Assessment Framework also focuses on monitoring child poverty.
The Commission is preparing a recommendation on child poverty this year that will set out common principles to support and monitor Member States’ policies.
During the European Semester, the Commission reviews Member States’ commitment and progress keeping in mind the overall poverty reduction goals of the Europe 2020 strategy. Social implications have been taken into account when preparing the adjustment policies to help ensuring that reforms are conducted in a socially responsible way. The countries themselves are ultimately responsible for the design of the measures.
In-work poverty has been identified as a major challenge in the 2008 recommendation on active inclusion. The Commission has developed indicators on in-work poverty and uses these to support, where relevant, the formulation of Country Specific Recommendations to Member States.
Finally, the recently adopted Employment Package(1) is emphasising the need of decent and sustainable wages. Setting minimum wages at appropriate levels can help prevent growing in-work poverty. Nevertheless, wage floors need to be sufficiently adjustable, with the involvement of the social partners to reflect overall economic developments. Moreover, the Package refers to the use of in-work benefits to alleviate in-work poverty, although, low-wage traps should be avoided.