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Every fifth child in EU lives in poverty: official

Berlin, Feb 25, IRNA ,Every fifth child in the European Union is affected by poverty in its family, EU Social Commissioner Vladimir Spidla told the daily Die Welt newspaper on Monday.

“That’s 19 million children. The number is alarming,” he said.

Half of those children come from a single-family household (23 percent) or from large families (27 percent).

“Children’s poverty lowers chances for a good future,” the EU official added.

Poor children have often scholastic problems, get sick more often and are vulnerable to criminal behaviour.

Meanwhile, some 12 percent of children in Germany live in poverty, according to Spidla.

That’s the lowest level in the EU after Denmark and Cyprus, he added.

Based on German government figures, every seventh child in Germany lives in a poor household, meaning that the family is earning less than 50 percent of an average net income.

Experts have cited the country’s high unemployment rate, deep social welfare cuts and the breakdown of family values as the main reasons for the dramatic increase in the number of poor children.

Based on the first comprehensive study on the problem of poor German children which was published by Berlin’s Free University in 2006, there is no hope for a short-term solution to the problem.

In fact, the survey predicts a further alarming rise in child poverty in Germany over the coming years, as the government won’t be able to pay for the growing number of social welfare recipients.

The study also estimates that in five years, almost every second child in the German capital Berlin will be on social welfare.

There will also be a major nationwide increase in youth crimes such as dealing with narcotics and theft.