Europe

UN envoy warns austerity policies hitting the poor hardest

Greek PrIme minister Alexis Tsipras, left, and Greek Defense Minister and party leader of the Independent Greeks Panos Kamenos chat during a cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Parliament approved a final round of austerity measures Thursday demanded by lenders for the release of further bailout loan installments. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greek PrIme minister Alexis Tsipras, left, and Greek Defense Minister and party leader of the Independent Greeks Panos Kamenos chat during a cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2016. Parliament approved a final round of austerity measures Thursday demanded by lenders for the release of further bailout loan installments. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N.'s expert on debt and human rights says economic austerity policies are hitting poor people hard in Greece and Spain and undermining social rights in the European Union.

U.N. envoy Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky said Friday that it's not acceptable when people "no longer have the means to buy adequate food, lose access to essential medical services or cannot keep a roof over their head."

He noted a "massive violation of social and economic rights in Greece" exacerbated by austerity measures the debt-stricken country has introduced to satisfy international lenders.

Bohoslavsky called on the EU, where around 121 million people are at risk of poverty, to consider the social and human rights impact of future economic programs and reforms.