A chronic gap between rich and poor is yawning wider, posing the biggest single risk to the world in 2014, even as economies in many countries start to recover, the World Economic Forum said on Thursday (16 January).
"The gaps in the information which is already available are not a good enough reason for Europe to drag its feet in refocusing policy to ensure that the EU has a sustainable economic and social model capable of meeting the challenges it will face in the future," write Sotiria Theodoropoulou and Fabian Zuleeg, policy analysts at the European Policy Centre, in a December paper.
"There [has been] a growing disparity between the highest and lowest incomes [in Brussels] since the end of the 1980s," argue Christian Kesteloot, a professor at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and Maarten Loopmans, a lecturer at the Erasmus University College Brussels, in a Brussels Studies e-journal.
Sixteen per cent of EU citizens are at risk of poverty, say the latest Eurostat figures. Half the countries that joined the EU in 2004 do a better job protecting their citizens from poverty than the average for the EU-15.