With more than 120 million people in the EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion, EU leaders have pledged to bring at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. The fight against poverty and social exclusion is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Today, EU countries are far from reaching the 2020 target and the worsening social situation caused by the economic crisis is undermining the sustainability of social protection systems.
Millions of Europeans are still on the side-lines, both from the labour market and from social inclusion and integration. Their numbers are increasing, as witnessed by the statistics from 2011:
The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion is a broad umbrella, covering a wide range of policies, designed to help reach the 2020 target.
It provides the basis for a joint commitment among national governments, EU Institutions and key stakeholders to fight poverty and social exclusion, focusing on the policy objectives set out in the Social Investment Package.
In the framework of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion the Commission organises regular EU Stakeholder Dialogue meetings with NGOs, social partners, businesses and social economy actors, academics, foundations, think tanks and international organisations to ensure that they are involved in developing and implementing policy initiatives to combat poverty and social exclusion. These stakeholders in turn reach out to national stakeholders and regional and local authorities.
The Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion provides a valuable opportunity for dialogue between policy makers, key stakeholders and people who have experienced poverty. Its objectives are: