Red Cross

Poverty and social exclusion are among the gravest societal challenges that Europe currently faces. Eurostat figures show that of the 500 million people living in the EU, a staggering 119 million are at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Every day, Red Cross staff and volunteers deliver care and support to the most vulnerable people and communities in the EU.


Help is provided in different ways depending on the specific needs of the person, with activities ranging from basic material assistance such as food, clothing and shelter, to advice and counselling.

The Red Cross EU Office closely follows trends and developments in EU social policies, with a focus on efforts to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion. In particular, we look at policy initiatives and financial instruments that directly impact Red Cross work in local communities, such as the European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the European Social Fund (ESF). In this context, we advocate the interests of those who are far away from the labour market, such as children and older people. We promote the need for social inclusion policies that do not only focus on employment-related actions.

What are the rights and what do they mean?

  • The right to water entitles everyone to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.
  • The right to sanitation entitles everyone to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity.