Comparing Austria, Germany, Greece, Portugal and the UK
Edited by Eleni Apospori and Jane Millar
: the dynamic analysis of poverty and social exclusion Sue Middleton, Matt Barnes and Jane Millar Poverty and social exclusion have never been higher on the agenda of the European Union (EU). At the conclusion of the European Summit held in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Council stated that ‘steps must be taken to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by setting adequate targets to be agreed by the Council by the end of the year’. Following the Summit and the European Council in Nice in November 2000, each member state was required to draw up biannual National Implementation Plans for Social Inclusion, including speciﬁc indicators and monitoring mechanisms capable of measuring progress. The ﬁrst set of plans were delivered to the Commission in May 2001 and have been summarized in the European Commission report, Joint Report on Social Inclusion, this being the ‘ﬁrst time that the European Union endorses a policy document on poverty and social exclusion’ (European Commission, 2002, p. 9). This represents a signiﬁcant shift in policy emphasis. Prior to the Lisbon Summit of March 2000, the focus of EU concern was unemployment, and particularly long-term unemployment, as the manifestation of poverty and social exclusion with which policy should concern itself. The Lisbon summit, which emphasized the role of social policy, alongside employment and economic policies, in combating poverty and social exclusion, refocused the European policy agenda, recognizing the multi-dimensionality of poverty and social exclusion. While unemployment remains a central concern, policy...