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A Europe For the Many, Not the Few: Time to reverse the course of inequality and poverty in Europe

August 24, 2015

Europe is facing unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality. Instead of putting people first, policy decision making is increasingly influenced by wealthy elites who bend the rules to their advantage, worsening poverty and economic inequality, while steadily and significantly eroding democratic institutions. Austerity measures and unfair tax systems across Europe are skewed in favour of powerful vested interests. It is time to reverse the course of poverty and inequality in Europe, putting people first. This briefing paper reviews the current situation and presents recommendations to help put an end to poverty and extreme inequality in Europe. It draws on data from Oxfam's research paper Background Data for Oxfam Briefing 'A Europe For the Many, Not the Few' for which the raw data can be viewed via our online data tool.

A Cautionary Tale: The True Cost of Austerity and Inequality in Europe

September 11, 2013

European austerity programmes have dismantled the mechanisms that reduce inequality and enable equitable growth. With inequality and poverty on the rise, Europe is facing a lost decade. An additional 15 to 25 million people across Europe could face the prospect of living in poverty by 2025 if austerity measures continue. Oxfam knows this because it has seen it before. The austerity programmes bear a striking resemblance to the ruinous structural adjustment policies imposed on Latin America, SouthEast Asia, and sub-Saharan African in the 1980s and 1990s. These policies were a failure: a medicine that sought to cure the disease by killing the patient. They cannot be allowed to happen again. Oxfam calls on the governments of Europe to turn away from austerity measures and instead choose a path of inclusive growth that delivers better outcomes for people, communities, and the environment.

Double-Edged Prices: Lessons from the food price crisis: 10 actions developing countries should take

November 3, 2010

The recent sharp increase in food prices should have benefited millions of poor people who make their living from agriculture. However, decades of misguided policies by developing country governments on agriculture, trade, and domestic markets - often promoted by international financial institutions and supported by donor countries - have prevented poor farmers and rural workers from reaping the benefits of higher commodity prices. As a result, the crisis is hurting poor producers and consumers alike, threatening to reverse recent progress on poverty reduction in many countries. To help farmers get out of poverty while protecting poor consumers, developing country governments, with the support of donors, should invest now into smallholder agriculture and social protection.