Last year, more than a third of the population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in three Member States of the European Union: Bulgaria (40,4 percent), Romania (38,8 percent) and Greece (35,6 percent), according to data released on Monday by the European Statistical Office Eurostat.
At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest shares of persons being at risk of poverty or social exclusion were recorded in the Czech Republic (13,3 percent), Finland (16,6 percent), Denmark (16,7 percent) and the Netherlands (16,8 percent).
In the 28 Member States of the European Union, 117.5 million people, or 23,4 percent of the population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, in 2016, a level almost similar to the one recorded back in 2008, before the economic crisis emerged.
The reduction of the number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU is one of the key targets of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Among the Member States for which data are available, the at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rate has grown from 2008 in ten Member States, with the highest increases being recorded in Greece (from 28,1 percent in 2008 to 35,6 percent in 2016, or +7,5 percentage points), Cyprus (+4,4 pp), Spain (+4,1 pp) and Sweden (+3,4 pp).
In contrast, the largest decrease was observed in Poland (from 30,5 percent to 21,9 percent, or -8.6 pp), followed by Latvia (-5,7 pp) and Romania (-5,4 pp). In what Romania is concerned, Eurostat mentions that the data for 2016 are not final. In 2008, Romania had 9.11 million citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion, while last year it had 7.69 million.
These figures are published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.