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The EU and social inclusion

The EU and social inclusion: Facing the challenges

Eric Marlier
A.B. Atkinson
Bea Cantillon
Brian Nolan
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  • Book Info
    The EU and social inclusion
    Book Description:

    Social cohesion is one of the declared objectives of the European Union and, with some 16% of EU citizens at risk of poverty, the need to fight poverty and social exclusion continues as a major challenge. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the EU Social Inclusion Process, the means by which it hopes to meet this objective, and explores the challenges ahead at local, regional, national and EU levels. It sets out concrete proposals for taking the Process forward. The book provides a unique analysis of policy formulation and assessment. Setting out the evolution and current state of EU cooperation in social policy, it examines what can be learned about poverty and social exclusion from the EU commonly agreed indicators. Taking the position of outside, but informed, observers, the authors explore the further development of the common indicators, including the implications of Enlargement, and consider the challenges of advancing the Social Inclusion Process - strengthening policy analysis, embedding the Process in domestic policies and making it more effective. Proposing the setting of targets and restructuring of National Action Plans and their implementation, they emphasise the need for widespread ownership of the Process at domestic and EU level and for it to demonstrate significant progress in reducing poverty and social exclusion. The book will be invaluable to academics, students and policy-makers at sub-national, national and EU levels as well as to social partners, and NGOs working towards a more inclusive society.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-172-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. List of figures, tables and boxes
    (pp. vii-ix)
  2. List of abbreviations and acronyms
    (pp. x-xii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
    Marie-Josée Jacobs

    With some 16% of its population at risk of poverty, one of the most important challenges that continues to face the European Union (EU) is the need to achieve a significant reduction in the level of poverty and social exclusion. This is not a new challenge. Since the March 2000 European Council in Lisbon the EU has been committed to taking steps “to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty” (Presidency Conclusions). The EU Social Inclusion Process, the Open Method of Coordination on poverty and social exclusion, has been the means used to achieve this objective.

    This Social...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xix-xx)
    A.B. Atkinson, Bea Cantillon, Eric Marlier and Brian Nolan
  5. A one-page summary of contents
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  6. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Social inclusion is one of the declared objectives of the European Union (EU). When, at the Lisbon Summit of March 2000, EU Heads of State and Government decided that the Union should adopt the strategic goal for the next decade of becoming “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy [...] with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”, it was important that the phrase “social cohesion” appeared in the same sentence as “most competitive economy”. The interpretation became clear when common objectives in the fight against poverty and social exclusion were set at the December 2000 Nice European Council....

  7. TWO The EU Social Inclusion Process and the key issues
    (pp. 17-58)

    Even though the founding fathers of the EU had expected social progress to evolve naturally from the economic progress generated by the Common Market, for many years the Single European Market and the European Monetary Union largely eclipsed the social dimension of the EU. It is only since March 2000, when EU Heads of State and Government adopted theLisbon Strategy, that social policy has truly become a specific focus of attention for EU cooperation. In this Chapter, the main emphasis is on the Lisbon Strategy and the EUsocial processesthat were launched in this context, and more particularly...

  8. THREE Exploring statistics on poverty and social exclusion in the EU
    (pp. 59-106)

    Member States have so far made use of the commonly agreed indicators to quite varying degrees. While many countries did use indicators to provide a description of the state of affairs with regard to poverty and social exclusion, these descriptions were not, on the whole, integrated into the central part of the NAPs/inclusion, which deals with the strategic approach to combating poverty and social exclusion. One of the reasons for the limited framing of policies in relation to the common indicators in the NAPs/inclusion is that the social indicators have not to date been very fully exploited for analytical purposes....

  9. FOUR Strengthening policy analysis
    (pp. 107-142)

    The commonly agreed indicators for social inclusion that we described in Chapter 3 are in general outcome indicators aiming to measure the extent of progress towards the common objectives of promoting social inclusion. To bring about a substantial improvement in the reported indicators requires long-term and structural policy efforts in the fields of economic growth, social protection, minimum wages and employment. It has, moreover, to be recognised that the outcomes measured by the indicators depend partially on developments outside the control of Governments (such as trends in family formation and dissolution). This is the reason why most Member States highlighted...

  10. FIVE EU indicators for poverty and social exclusion
    (pp. 143-196)

    The set of outcome indicators adopted formally by the European Council at Laeken in December 2001, and developed substantially since that date, is intended to play a central role in monitoring the performance of Member States in promoting social inclusion. The purpose of these indicators is to allow the Member States and the European Commission to monitor national and EU progress towards key EU objectives in the area of social inclusion (see Chapter 2), and to support mutual learning and identification of good (and bad) practices in terms of policies and institutional processes (see Chapter 6). This represents a major...

  11. SIX Taking forward the EU Social Inclusion Process
    (pp. 197-236)

    In Chapter 2, we described the new context within which the Social Inclusion Process is now being taken forward. Alongside the new Lisbon governance cycle launched in 2005, there will be a simplification and streamlining of the reporting mechanisms under the Open Method of Coordination on social protection and social inclusion (European Commission, 2005h, 2005i, and 2005l; Social Protection Committee and Economic Policy Committee, 2006). Separate reporting will continue as part of this OMC. The annual Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion will remain a separate document, not be integrated into the “renewed” Lisbon Strategy, although information relevant...

  12. SEVEN The EU and social inclusion: facing the challenges
    (pp. 237-246)

    At the March 2000 European Council in Lisbon, the EU committed to taking steps “to make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty”. At their 2005 Spring Summit in Brussels, EU leaders stressed that “it is essential to relaunch the Lisbon Strategy without delay and re-focus priorities on growth and employment”; they also reaffirmed that “social inclusion policy should be pursued by the Union and by Member States”. And one year later, in March 2006, they restated “the objective of the Partnership for growth and jobs that steps have to be taken to make a decisive impact on the...

  13. Appendix 2a: Six key EU texts on social protection and social inclusion
    (pp. 283-284)
  14. Appendix 2b: Common objectives of the OMC for Social Protection and Social Inclusion as agreed by the March 2006 European Council
    (pp. 285-286)
  15. Appendix 3: Members of the Steering Committee
    (pp. 287-290)