Inequality is the greatest challenge of our time. It undermines social trust and weakens support for democratic institutions. Inequality hinders growth and quality job creation, frustrates innovation, hampers social mobility and inhibits sustainable growth.
High and increasing levels of inequality hinder not only progress towards eradicating poverty, but also efforts to enhance social inclusion and social cohesion. The share of people at risk of social exclusion is closely related to income inequality and poverty is constantly growing since 2005.
In this website, you will find some of the conclusions of the report “Combating inequalities as a lever to boost job creation and economic growth”, adopted by the European Parliament in November 2017, of which I was rapporteur.
This report is the result of a year of work and negotiation, during which we have listened to and involved scholars, civil society and institutions linked to socio-economic analyses and public policies.
Brussels, January 2018
The resolution adopted by the European Parliament highlights that:
According to international bodies such as the IMF and the OECD, inequality undermines growth and job creation as well as social trust and erodes support for democratic institutions.
Inequality is a multifaceted phenomenon, which is not restricted to economic issues but also concerns differences in the opportunities available to people depending on their gender, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, geographical location or age.
The increase in inequality arising from the crisis has affected women in particular, exacerbating poverty among them and increasingly excluding them from the labour market.
Societies with greater income inequalities have higher rates of poor health and violence, higher obesity rates and higher imprisonment and homicide rates.
Thanks to this resolution:
For the first time, the reduction of inequalities will be considered “a priority at the European level, as a precondition for economic recovery, quality job creation and social cohesion”.
The risks and threats posed by the new forms of employment are denounced, such as zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships, which do not permit a decent standard of living, and the Commission is asked to ensure that every European worker enjoys decent working conditions.
Regret is expressed that, in many countries, the welfare state has been very negatively impacted by austerity policies, with repercussions in terms of income inequalities.
Appropriate measures are required to ensure universal and affordable access to quality public education from an early age (0-3), since this is key for combating inequalities in the long term.
The European Commission and the Member States are required to step up the fight against poverty, especially among children, through the creation of a child guarantee scheme which makes sure that every child has access to basic health-care services, education and social welfare, decent housing and adequate food.
The European Commission and the Member States are asked to undertake real actions against tax fraud, demanding further coordination, approximation and harmonisation of tax policy, as well as measures against tax havens, tax fraud and evasion and the fight against undeclared work.