One European out of four – or nearly 120 million people – "risks social exclusion," reports Spanish daily La Vanguardia, following the publication of a Eurostat survey, the EU-SILC, examining data on income, social inclusion and living conditions. The study shows that social exclusion rose by 1 per cent in 2011 compared to a year earlier. This, says the paper, –

despite the fact reducing the number of people facing this threat is one of the EU's goals in its strategy for the decade.

Those countries with the highest percentage of risk of poverty or social exclusion are Bulgaria (49 per cent), followed by Romania and Latvia (40 per cent). Those with the lowest risk are the Czech Republic (15 per cent) and Sweden (16 per cent).

La Vanguardia notes that Spain, with 27 per cent of its population – or 12.4 million people – on the edge of exclusion, ranks three points above the European average.

The risk of poverty has continued to rise as a result of a crisis that strikes directly and broadly, at a large group of citizens who were until then, settled into the comfortable middle class.