Pedro Sánchez: "Fighting child poverty is a commitment to the collective dignity of our society and to making Spain a better country"

President's News - 2022.7.6

CaixaForum, Madrid

This was stated during the event "Childhood with Rights: State Action Plan of the European Child Guarantee", which was held at CaixaForum Madrid, with the participation of the Minister for Social Rights and Agenda 2030, Ione Belarra, and the High Commissioner for the Fight against Child Poverty, Ernesto Gasco. It was also attended by the Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, and the Minister for Equality, Irene Montero.

During his speech, Pedro Sánchez underlined that with yesterday's approval, in the Council of Ministers, of the State Action Plan for the implementation of the Child Guarantee in our country, "we can say that Spain is moving towards a much fairer and more dignified country. Because combating child poverty is a commitment to the collective dignity of our society, and also to making Spain a better country".

Sánchez insisted that "this is a government that protects the majority and especially the most vulnerable", recalling that more than two and a half million children in Spain are at high risk of poverty and social exclusion. For this reason, he pointed out that the Executive has the "firm determination" to contribute to the fulfilment of the objectives of reducing child poverty, established in the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

In this regard, he highlighted the "outstanding role" played by Spain in the "consolidation of a European framework for children's rights", as it was "decisive" in the allocation by the European Commission, for the first time, of at least 5% of the resources of the European Social Fund Plus to the fight against child poverty. This measure, he explained, means an additional 1 billion euros for measures aimed at breaking the poverty cycle, in the current funding period up to 2027.

According to the President of the Government of Spain, investment in children in Spain in this decade must allow us to break the cycle of child poverty by acting on four fronts: guaranteeing access to rights or essential quality services within an improved and broader framework of child protection; protecting the most vulnerable groups of children and adolescents with specific and proactive measures; tackling territorial inequalities; and last, consolidating a solid and coordinated framework for action and governance, which facilitates the implementation of the Child Guarantee in all sectors and levels of administration.

A government committed to improving the situation of children and adolescents

Pedro Sánchez stressed that, beyond European funding instruments, the government "is committed to improving the situation of children and adolescents in our country", as reflected in the different measures it has adopted. Thus, he highlighted as a "fundamental milestone" the deployment of the Minimum Basic Income and the Child Support Supplement, with 3 billion euros dedicated to financing these benefits. "Never before has such an investment been dedicated to the fight against child poverty," he stressed.

He also referred to the family protection and child poverty care programme with 199 million euros in 2022, more than double the amount in 2018; the commitment to free, quality early childhood education from 0 to 3 years of age, with an investment of 671 million euros; the programme for Guidance, Advancement and Educational Enrichment PROA+, which will have a budget of 360 million euros; the Personal and Family Accompaniment and Guidance Units for educationally vulnerable students, with 125 million euros; the digital skills programme for children and adolescents at risk of digital exclusion, with a budget of 222 million euros.

Sánchez also highlighted important policies such as scholarships and the expansion of services such as oral and dental care in the National Health System, and the approval of the first National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Obesity. She also recalled the creation in 2018 of the High Commissioner for the fight against Child Poverty, "another institutional pillar of the Government's commitment to consolidate a childhood and adolescence with rights".

Child Guarantee must be an example of co-governance

Last, the President of the Government of Spain pointed out that the Child Guarantee Recommendation appeals not only to the investment of the European Union or the General State Administration, but also to that of all the regional and local administrations, which in our country have many competencies related to childhood and child poverty, and which must be coordinated to meet the objectives we set for 2030 in the State Action Plan we are presenting today. "It is the work of all of us and should be a good example of co-governance", he remarked.

He also announced that, within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will take place in the second half of 2023, the Government will give a central role to the European Child Guarantee, as "a strategic policy that will allow us to achieve a much stronger social Europe", he concluded.

Non official translation