Spain has the sad record of being the third country in the EU with higher rates of child poverty, 27.4%, only behind Romania and Bulgaria, a situation that does not correspond to the weight of the Spanish economy and that could have been aggravated by the covid crisis. For this reason, the European Commission has chosen Spain -and seven other countries- as a test laboratory for the implementation of the so-called European Child Guarantee. This tool, approved on June 14, is intended to promote equal opportunities to the point that all European children have free access and / or cash to basic rights, focusing on situations of poverty or social exclusion and especially vulnerable groups of children.
The “coming-out” of the Children’s Guarantee in Spain, terminology used by Gustavo Suárez, president of Unicef in Spain, took place this Wednesday at a conference held in Madrid where the diagnostic document prepared by the NGO and experts from the University of Alcalá de Henares and the CSIC was presented. And at the closing of said act, the Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, has announced what the total investment will be: 779 million euros, of which 527 correspond to the European Social Fund Plus -which represents at least 5% of the Fund until 2027 and, the rest, 252 million, to the national contribution, which will be nourished by state, regional and local funds. In both cases, it is a historical investment and never used until now in the fight against child poverty.
Belarra has admitted that Spain has figures of poverty childish “unacceptable“, which is” one of the biggest failures as a country. “” Every time a boy or girl has to be a hero to get ahead, it means that they have not been given all the support. Children do not have to be brave, they have to be happy, “he stressed. Faced with this, the implementation of the European Children’s Guarantee is a window of opportunity. The Spanish Executive has until March to present Brussels a national plan of action, which will be based on the recommendations of Unicef and the experts, which are based on the fact that the measures have to be transversal and that coordination in the execution is necessary.
The ‘baby check’
And the Guarantee will not be the only tool. As guaranteed Belarra, the future family diversity law will include the ‘check baby‘or the universal child benefit of 100 euros per month that Social Rights has not been able to introduce in the General State Budgets for 2022. Likewise, this rule, which is still in the draft phase and which will not reach the Council of Ministers until the end of the year or early 2022, will contain the extension of paternity and maternity leave to six months.
Likewise, it will contemplate a package of measures aimed at “guaranteeing a healthy and safe environment where upbringing, access to the universal health and educational system and healthy eating takes place” in the first three years of the child. And these actions will also include measures aimed at promoting the conciliation.