Europe’s failure to stamp out inequalities

By Khaled Diab, EEB & Tanja Gohlert, GCAP

Despite the European Union’s commitment to leave no one behind, millions of people in Europe are falling victim to widening inequalities, according to a new major EU-wide report – ‘Falling through the cracks: Exposing inequalities in Europe and beyond’. The report will be launched on 18 June 2019 at the European Development Days (EDDs) in Brussels.

Please join this special EDDs side event on Tuesday 18/06 from 16:00-17:30 in Room L1, which will present the report, highlight the action and inaction at the European level, and feature the perspectives from youth activists, inequalities from a national context, as well as the inequalities experienced by disabled persons.

You will be able to download the report from 18 June at

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About the report

‘Falling through the cracks: Exposing inequalities in Europe and beyond’ shines a light on the impact of rising inequalities on people and planet. The report makes for sobering reading and maps the reality of various forms of inequality, both nationally and at the European level. It consists of 15 national reports and 11 thematic chapters exploring key dimensions of inequality, including gender, age, disability, ethnicity and homelessness.

Why this matters

The EU, the world’s second largest economy, prides itself on its egalitarianism and progressive social model, while glaring inequalities are seen as a problem afflicting other parts of the world. But this is not the reality – there are many forms of inequalities in Europe and they are widening. If urgent action is not taken to address these gaping disparities, the EU is at risk of not meeting its commitments to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 10, to narrow inequalities within and between countries.

Civil society has taken the opportunity to provide an analysis of the different dimensions of inequality that exist – and persist – across the European Union. We are using this moment to present concrete policy recommendations to the EU, its new political leadership and its Member States. Our purpose is to provide information and proposals to address inequalities effectively – a first and necessary step towards ensuring a just transition towards human well-being within the planet’s ecological limits, and to leave no one behind.

This report has been produced as part of the pan-European project, Make Europe Sustainable for All, in close collaboration with SDG Watch Europe, and with the contributions of 58 organizations.

The report also contributes to the global Faces of Inequality and European Fight Inequalities campaigns, which gives social exclusion, poverty and discrimination a face. The campaigns are built jointly by members and partners – especially organisations of marginalized and excluded peoples.

About us

SDG Watch Europe is a cross-sectoral civil society alliance made up of over 100 organisations. It advocates for ambitious implementation of the SDGs.  

Make Europe Sustainable for All (MESA) is coordinated by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and implemented in 15 European countries by 25 partners. It aims to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For questions and queries, please contact:

Khaled Diab

Senior communications officer, EEB


Tel: +32 2 289 1369

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