More than 20 mio people are over-indebted in Europe European Consumer Debt Network expects numbers to grow and calls European decision makers to take urgent action

At least 20 million people are over-indebted in the EU. "With the increasing unemployment rates the number of people with debt problems can be expected to grow substantially over the next months", explains Hans Grohs, president of ecdn, an alliance of more than 40 debt advice organisations, consumer agencies and researchers. "Investments in preventing and tackling over-indebtedness have scarcely been included in the several billion of Euros that were spent on measures designed to tackle the current crisis. Measures have been put in place to help businesses access financing and cut red tape in order to survive the downturn and thus keep more people in work. These are effective measures for the prevention of over-indebtedness, but more are required."

In 2008 ecdn launched a European action day on financial inclusion to be held each year on the 31st of October. "This year we will send a letter to all head of states, the European Commission and Members of the European Parliament to remind them that many countries across Europe still lack specific debt regulation, legislation and specialized debt advice services as well as effective credit laws and regulations for responsible lending and to call for a coordinated European approach to tackle these problems."

ecdn's letter includes concrete recommendations to strengthen financial inclusion by introducing and improving debt settlement legislation and advice services, the right to a bank account and access to adequate banking services, installing guidelines for responsible credit, investing in financial education and better data collection on over-indebtedness and in a continuous and structured dialogue of all stakeholders.

Michaela Moser, +43-676-544 26 46 -
office@ecdn.eu - www.ecdn.eu