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Europe's poverty gap

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Europe's poverty gap
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Jose and Eeva-Marie are among the 113 million people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the European Union, representing 22,5 per cent of the bloc's population.

They came to Brussels; this Tuesday; to give their testemonies and suggestions to the European Parliament.

"I was living in Costa Rica and had to come back to Spain urgently because my brother was sick and he end up by dying soon after I arrived. I had to wait for one year of permanence in Spain in order to be able to start asking for social help. Now we have more poor workers, this means people that work and have a salary but does not make ends meet," explains José Maria

Workers represent already 9.6 per cent of the people at risk of poverty, around 32 million people in the EU.

For Eeva-Maria; a university researcher holding a part-time job, the problem is the growing inequality.

"In Finland; rich people are getting tax relief and at the same the benefits for poor people are being cut. My friends and relatives have been helping; so that as prevented me from getting more serious probles as losing my credit".

Their testimonies will be part of the session organised with the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) to present their 2018 Poverty Watch Report.

Among the reasons leading to poverty, the organizations mentions:

-lower salaries

-precarious contracts

-difficult access to housing

-higher prices for energy. food and health

"At the moment the EU is seen to be working in favor of markets, but not for people. We need to have tax justice; we need to have proper redistribution systems that really ensure that you can invest in wealfare states and in this kind of support to create quality jobs," says Sian Jones, EAPN Policy Coordinator.

Poverty in the EU is still 4 per cent higher than before the 2008 crisis.

"The problem is not that we run out of money occasionally. The real problem is that we live our entire lives this way and our children grow up in this too.” Person with direct experience of poverty from Lithuania.