European year for combating poverty and social exclusion
Springboard into the future
80 million people in the EU – or 16% of the population, and 19% of the children – are currently at risk of poverty, since they live on an income below 60% of the median household income of their own country. 17% of Europeans suffer from material deprivation, which means that their living conditions are severely affected by a lack of resources. Social transfers reduce the risk of poverty by 38% on average in the EU, but this impact varies from less than 10% to nearly 60% across EU. EU action has helped to create a consensus about the following key challenges: to eradicate child poverty by... breaking the vicious circle of intergenerational inheritance to promote the active inclusion in the society and the labour market of the most vulnerable groups to ensure decent housing for everyone to overcome discrimination and increase the integration of people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and immigrants and other vulnerable groups to tackle financial exclusion and overindebtedness. Since 2000, the European Union has provided, through the open method of coordination, a framework for national strategy development as well as for policy coordination between EU countries on issues relating to poverty and social exclusion. This coordinated action at European level is reflected in national action plans. It encourages EU countries to examine their policies critically, and highlights how some perform well in certain areas, spurring on others to perform better. It also creates a better basis for policy making by involving NGOs, social partners, local and regional authorities and those working with people in poverty. The European Commission provides financial support to relevant activities undertaken by a wide range of stakeholders.