Table of Contents

Combating Poverty in Europe

Combating Poverty in Europe

Active Inclusion in a Multi-Level and Multi-Actor Context

Edited by Rune Halvorsen and Bjørn Hvinden

Discovering methods to combat poverty and social exclusion has now become a major political challenge in Europe. This book offers an original and timely analysis of how actors at the European, national and subnational levels meet this challenge. Combining perspectives on multilevel and network coordination, the editors discuss to what extent actors join forces in these efforts and identify the factors limiting the coordination achieved in practice. The book builds on a European study comparing Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the UK.

Chapter 1: Introduction: how to achieve Active Inclusion in a multi-layered Political context?

Rune Halvorsen and Bjørn Hvinden

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy, welfare states


This book asks how governments in Europe go about combating poverty and social exclusion. Poverty and social exclusion are complex problems, and a number of actors are involved in efforts to handle them. The complexity creates a range of challenges of political capacity and organization. The financial crisis that began in 2008 is an important context for the analyses presented in the book. The crisis meant that the number of people living in poverty increased dramatically in many countries and the need for financial and other assistance grew quickly. At the same time, governments’ efforts to meet the crisis forced them to make substantial changes to existing social provisions, sometimes in a restrictive direction. The need to cut their budgets reduced governments’ overall capacity to prevent and alleviate poverty. However, the book is not primarily about the effects of the crisis or the impact of austerity. Most of the book deals with enduring issues that most countries had faced before the early days of the crisis and that are unlikely to go away when Europe has moved beyond it.