What defines poverty? The EU-level policy standard is that people are at risk of poverty if they have an income of 60 % or less than the national median household income. Poverty means a daily struggle to buy food and clothes. It means living in substandard housing or not even having a roof over one’s head.
Europe is one of the world’s richest regions with a diverse and sophisticated economy that provides a high standard of living. The wealth Europe has generated allows many of its citizens to enjoy good quality healthcare, education and social assistance. Nevertheless, a huge number of people are not able to share the fruits of this success. It is estimated that the European Union is home to about 84 million people who are at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
Solidarity is one of the guiding principles of the European Union, meaning that all citizens should be able to share in the benefits of prosperous times, while also sharing the burden of times of difficulty. Yet nearly 80 million Europeans live below the poverty line, and many face serious obstacles in accessing employment, education, housing, social and financial services.
This leaflet presents a summary of the Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2009. Based on the National Strategy reports outlining national priorities for social protection and inclusion, the leaflet provides an overview of the key trends on the European Union and national levels in these areas. It is available in all EU official languages.
The Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2009 presents an in-depth assessment of the renewed National Strategy Reports. Originally presented in autumn 2008, these reports outline every Member State's social protection and inclusion policy priorities until 2011. It is available in English only.