According to the latest Eurostat publications 16.9% of the EU27 population were at risk-of-poverty after social transfers. This essentially means that 1 in 6 people in the Union were at the brink of poverty. Note that the data are for 2011, before the crisis-ridden nations initiated their plans for fiscal austerity, which have decreased social transfers.
Not surprisingly, the nations which face the largest problem include Spain and Greece with 21.8% and 21.4% respectively and Portugal with 18%. (The only reason I am not quoting the countries of the East like Bulgaria, Estonia or Lithuania where the problem is severe as well is not because I do not consider that region important or anything. It is just because the crisis has not hit them yet and they have not been forced to reduce public spending. Yet.)
In the same publication the percentage of persons severely materially deprived can be found. Of the countries which have opted for a bail-out, only Greece and Cyprus have percentages which are in excess of 10%. Yet, I remind you that these numbers were for 2011 only and as recent experience in Spain has shown, it does not take much to make a change for the worst.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. As more and more emphasis is being given to austerity and not growth, people will face the ugly side of life before they meet its good side. The EU authorities, comprised of people who have stable jobs and their salary is never late, have so far failed to understand the effects their policies have on the ordinary person.
For those who may have misunderstood what I have stated, I am not blaming anyone for having a good, stable job secured for the rest of their lives. What I would ask if for everyone to have this opportunity. Unfortunately, with the current policies, this opportunity seems to become rarer and rarer.