Brussels, Aug 2 (EFE) .- More than 4.7 million people living in Spain at risk of poverty, with incomes less than 60% of the average income, cannot go on vacation, which is the second largest amount absolute of an EU Member State, according to a report published this Monday by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
ETUC specified that workers with wages that lead them to live in poverty are among the 35 million poorest Europeans who cannot afford a week’s vacation in the summer.
He indicated that, although access to vacations has grown in the last decade, the majority of low-income families are still excluded.
Overall, 28% of EU citizens cannot afford a week of vacation away from home, but that figure rises to 59.5% among people whose income is below the risk-of-poverty line ( 60% of median income).
The worst situation in percentage terms occurs in Greece, where 88.9% of people at risk of poverty cannot go on vacation, followed by Romania (86.8%), Croatia (84.7%), Cyprus (79 , 2%) and Slovakia (76.1%).
In absolute terms, Italy is the Member State with the most people in this situation (7 million people, 71.2% of whom are at risk of poverty), followed by Spain (4.77 million, 62.8% of the people at risk of poverty), Germany (4.3 million, 41.1%), France (3.6 million, 57.2%) and Poland (3.1 million, 63.4%).
ETUC admitted that many of the Europeans with incomes below 60% of the median income are unemployed or retired, but affirmed that this group also includes “millions of workers with low wages, in particular, those who earn the legal minimum wage”.
He added that the minimum wage leaves workers at risk of poverty “in at least sixteen member states” of the European Union.
According to a Eurostat analysis prepared by ETUC and the Institute of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUI), inequality has grown in 16 countries in the last decade between those who have incomes below 60% of the median income and those who exceed that threshold.
In Romania, 86.8% of the population at risk of poverty cannot leave their residence in the summer, but among those who are not at risk of poverty the percentage drops to 46.7%.
The largest gaps between the two groups are found in Croatia (43.2 percentage points), Greece (43 points), Bulgaria (42.4 points), Czech Republic (41.1 points), France (40.4 points) and Romania (40.1 points). In Spain, the difference is 37 points.
In the last decade (between 2010 and 2019 or 2020), the largest increases took place in Romania (17.1 percentage points more), Slovakia (14 points), Croatia (13.8 points), Lithuania (8.3 points) and Hungary (7.9 points). As regards Spain, the advance was 1.7 percentage points.
“A vacation should not be a luxury for the few. While many workers are away enjoying free time with friends and family, millions miss it due to low wages,” stated ETUC Deputy Secretary General Esther Lynch.
(c) EFE Agency