Poverty in the European Union: The crisis and its aftermath

16-03-2016

In 2010, as part of the Europe 2020 strategy, Member States agreed on a target to have at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020, thus reducing poverty from 116.4 million people to 96.4 million over the decade. Unfortunately, since the Strategy was adopted, the European Union has moved away from this target: there are now 6.7 million more people living in poverty or social exclusion across Europe compared to 2008 (EU-27). In 2012, almost one quarter of the European population was at risk of poverty, on a 'wealthy continent'. Which subgroups of society were the most hit by the 'Great Recession'? What are the current drivers of poverty in Europe today? And what political actions are undertaken to fight against this new 21st century social scourge? Through a statistical analysis of the most recent trends in poverty in the European Union, this paper analyses the consequences of the crisis on the level and the nature of poverty in Europe and describes the political actions that are implemented to counter this phenomenon.

In 2010, as part of the Europe 2020 strategy, Member States agreed on a target to have at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020, thus reducing poverty from 116.4 million people to 96.4 million over the decade. Unfortunately, since the Strategy was adopted, the European Union has moved away from this target: there are now 6.7 million more people living in poverty or social exclusion across Europe compared to 2008 (EU-27). In 2012, almost one quarter of the European population was at risk of poverty, on a 'wealthy continent'. Which subgroups of society were the most hit by the 'Great Recession'? What are the current drivers of poverty in Europe today? And what political actions are undertaken to fight against this new 21st century social scourge? Through a statistical analysis of the most recent trends in poverty in the European Union, this paper analyses the consequences of the crisis on the level and the nature of poverty in Europe and describes the political actions that are implemented to counter this phenomenon.