New plan sets out strategy for lifting 20m people out of poverty – an EU target for 2020.
More than 80m people in the EU are at risk of poverty, and the problem has been made worse by the economic crisis – the most vulnerable have been hit hardest. If the EU’s 2020 target is to be reached, work needs to start now.
The European platform against poverty and social exclusion will encourage new ways of working and help governments and other actors develop more effective and innovative methods to tackle poverty.
Although fighting poverty is primarily the responsibility of individual member countries, EU-wide targets and approaches have helped make national policies in areas such as child poverty and homelessness more effective.
The Commission now wants to promote innovation in social policy, using small projects to evaluate potential new policies or reforms. The aim is for EU countries to learn from each others’ experiences, and ultimately fine tune their social policies so that they have more of an impact.
The coming years - 2011-12 in particular - will see a range of initiatives, including coordination on voluntary policy and information sharing, new legislation and project funding. Specific actions will target those most at risk, including young people, people with disabilities and minority groups such as Roma.
Combating poverty does not necessarily mean spending more. A key aim is to shift reforms towards greater efficiency. The strong focus on social innovation and experimentation should help the EU and its members identify where resources will have the most impact.
These initiatives mark the start of a new phase for EU social inclusion policies, and will take advantage of the momentum generated by the European year 2010 against poverty and exclusion.
The year-long campaign mobilised all sectors of society and helped keep poverty high on the political agenda, with more than more than 700 projects in 29 countries.