European bishops call for integrated response to poverty

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has issued a document calling on Member States of the European Union to Member “to develop together with civil society and Church actors an integrated approach to combat poverty and social exclusion in all its forms”. In ‘Rescue the Weak and the Poor’, the prelates note that “in a European Union founded on Christian values, almost a quarter of the population still lives at risk of poverty and social exclusion”.

 “Income inequality is growing in most of the countries and the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion has increased from 116 million people in 2008 to 123 milion in 2012,” they write.

Encouraging an integrated response, not least for groups most especially affected, such as children, the unemployed  and those excluded through discrimination, COMECE outlines six key areas “towards a community of solidarity and responsibility”. These are: promoting integral development; ensuring policy coherence against the structural causes of poverty; rebalancing economic interests with social rights; upholding adequate working conditions; a recognition of families as key actors in society, and the fostering of dialogue and cooperation.

“Placing the people and especially the poor at the core of [European] policies could make our societies not only more inclusive, but also more resilient to future crises,” the prelates conclude.

‘Rescue the Weak and the Poor’ can be read at: