84 million Europeans live at risk of poverty, which is about 17% of the population. People living in poverty have less than 60% of average national household incomes.
Living in poverty means not being able to pay the rent, mortgage or utility bills, buy food and clothing. People who are poor also have to cope with limited access to education, a lack of access to health care etc. The most alarming is that about 19 million children live in poverty across the EU.
- EU has been developing a strategy which seeks to eradicate poverty. The goal is to provide a framework which help member states implement their own actions to deal with poverty and social exclusion. The EU has developed a plan to help member states deliver active inclusion policies. Active inclusion aims to help marginalized people off the dole queue while providing adequate levels of social provision for those who cannot work. The EU also promotes the development of common indicators and the ex-change of good practice so that policy makers can better understand the issues and find out what works best in terms of combating poverty.
- As well as raising public awareness about poverty and social exclusion, the European Year promises to provide extra impetus to the actions of the EU and its partners.
- In addition, the European Social Fund (ESF) spends €10 billion a year on projects across the EU to boost the employment prospects of excluded groups. The ESF provides training and education opportunities to the likes of disabled people, older workers and the long-term unemployed – often in very deprived areas.