Combating Poverty in Europe
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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.
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Chapter 3: Poverty and social exclusion as a challenge for Active Inclusion – the spatial dimension

Elisabeth Ugreninov and Dorothee Spannagel


In 2010, the European Commission launched the EU 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The strategy contained five headline targets – the fifth one dealing explicitly with poverty and social exclusion. The Commission declared that it would promote ‘social inclusion, in particular through the reduction of poverty by aiming to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion’ (European Commission, 2010). This goal is specified in a footnote: ‘The population is defined as the number of persons who are at risk of poverty and exclusion according to three indicators: At risk of poverty; material deprivation; jobless household’ (ibid.). In order to make it possible to measure the efforts and results achieved by the member states, it is essential that the EU define the anti-poverty target in detail. Social exclusion is a three-dimensional concept that claims to be measurable, although one may question whether it has a sound theoretical foundation. The grouping together of three different dimensions of social exclusion aims primarily at monitoring progress towards achieving the headline target (Atkinson and Marlier, 2010).

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