Poverty: An EU Social Policy Target
The combat against social inequality and poverty has for many years been on the forefront of the EU social policy agenda. The fight against poverty and social exclusion in its present form goes back to the Treaty of Amsterdam. During the meeting of the European Council at Nice in 2000, the decision of Lisbon (2000) was confirmed and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) was selected as the instrument of choice for the campaign against poverty and social exclusion. The key elements of the OMC are the establishment of joint objectives across the EU, the development of national action plans designed to reach these objectives and regular reports as part of a system to monitor any progress made. While the Council meeting at Laeken in 2001 agreed a range of common statistical indicators, an integrated OMC has been applied to the area of social protection and inclusion since 2006. Ambitious targets were set with the purpose of eventually “Eradicating Poverty and Social Exclusion“. Governments and social actors were called upon to provide their broad support, and poverty was put on the EU list for “theme years”. 2010 was the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.