As Britons debate stay or exit in the upcoming EU referendum Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, UN Special Rapporteur on the effects of foreign debt and human rights, stressed that poverty has been on the rise in the EU. He warned recent austerity policies are hitting the most vulnerable and are undermining economic, social and labour rights within the European Union.
He pointed out that about 121 million people in the EU are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, and their number has in particular increased in countries that underwent a financial crisis and structural adjustment, such as Greece and Spain. According to Bohoslavsky, it is unlikely that the EU will reach in 2020 its official target to reduce the number of people at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion by 20 million people. He also noted that there are around 21.4 million unemployed persons in the EU, 4.7 million more than in 2008, before the financial crisis spread.