Over 80 million people in the EU are still living at risk of poverty and a quarter of these citizens are children. The economic crisis has exacerbated this situation, exposing vulnerable groups even more.
With the 2010 European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion drawing to a close, the EU must continue to step up its efforts for the decade to come on this key issue. Bringing vulnerable groups into the heart of our societies and labour markets is central to sustainable and inclusive growth. Poverty reduction is an engine for this future growth. At the initiative of the European Commission, EU leaders have already set, for the first time ever, a concrete numerical target to reduce poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020.
Today’s communication, ‘The European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion’ sets out ways to help Member States move up a gear in fighting social exclusion. Countries now have to set their own ambitious national targets, reporting annually on their progress. The Commission will support these efforts, mobilising, among others, policies like social protection, employment and education, as well as EU funding. It will also promote new partnerships and new ways of combating poverty through social innovation to test new policy ideas.