With household debt levels rising dangerously high, a new policy paper issued 1 February 2012 shows that an integrated approach questioning current cultural developments and prioritizing social investment policies is crucial to ensure a more inclusive and debt free society. European household debt has been on the rise since the 1980s. In 2007, even before the start of the financial and economic crisis, household debt in the European Union had increased on average by near to 19% since 2001.
“Eurodiaconia members’ experience confirms these figures. They have witnessed a constant increase in the demand for debt-counselling services for three consecutive years and expect the demand for these types of services to keep increasing in the future, as more and more people need to borrow to pay for daily living costs” says Heather Roy, Eurodiaconia’ s Secretary General.
In reaction to this situation, Eurodiaconia has released a policy paper on household over indebtedness in the European Union, presenting twelve recommendations ranging from the need for a stricter monitoring and regulation of advertising, revolving credit and debt collection agencies, to reinforcing social protection through adequate minimum income along with both higher levels and a less complex social security mechanism that offers a higher level of protection.
This policy paper, based on Eurodiaconia’ s members’ experience, suggests that living under the strain of the financial crisis has become too difficult for families and single-parent households and that over indebtedness has become the symptom of a broader social crisis as more and more people are pushed to borrow money to pay for housing and daily living costs. Instead of the current non-inclusive developments, Eurodiaconia proposes an integrated approach questioning current cultural trends, and prioritizing social investment policies to ensure a more inclusive and debt free society.