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Europe 2020

Towards a More Social EU?


Edited By Eric Marlier, David Natali and Rudi Van Dam

How can Europe 2020, the EU’s new Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, lead to a stronger Social EU with less poverty and greater social cohesion? This book by a number of eminent scholars and experts is the first to attempt to answer this question.
The adoption in June 2010 by EU leaders of a target to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion by 2020 is an important step forward. However, delivering on this and the Union’s four other mutually reinforcing targets, and achieving the EU’s ambitious social objectives, raises many political and technical challenges. These are examined in depth in this book.
A key objective of the book is to take a critical look at and draw lessons from the past, 2000–2010 Lisbon Strategy. Another important objective is to explore the format and role of EU coordination and cooperation in the social field in the new EU governance framework, in a context marked by slow recovery after the global economic crisis. Finally, the book also makes proposals for the further reinforcement of this coordination and cooperation and for the improvement of the different instruments available at EU, national and sub-national levels.
The analysis and concrete proposals presented in the book will be invaluable to policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders interested in contributing to building a more Social EU. They will help to encourage new ideas and innovative approaches.


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6. Assessing the EU Approach to Combating Povertyand Social Exclusion in the Last Decade (Mary DALY) 143


143 6. Assessing the EU Approach to Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Last Decade Mary DALY1 6.1 Introduction One of the most significant achievements of the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 was to place social issues firmly on the EU policy agenda, reinvigorating EU social policy which had been in the doldrums since the heady days of the Delors era in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Poverty and social exclusion have been central to the new momentum – the first decade of the new century was a time when the EU made one of the most concerted attempts anywhere in recent history to engage with poverty and social exclusion. There was nothing foretold about this – the EU is primarily a project oriented to markets and eco- nomic efficiency. It has placed its faith in a market-led strategy for growth rather than, for example, redistributive policies aiming for social justice and equality. Moreover, the EU’s space for manoeuvre in social policy was and is limited: the principle of subsidiarity (which grants Member States autonomy in social policy) as well as the resulting weak legal competence and lacking funds for redistribution seriously restrict the EU’s role in social policy. Against this background, the aim of this piece is to outline and assess the anti-poverty/social exclusion activities of the EU in the last decade. The Lisbon process offers a unique oppor- tunity to study: a) the evolution of poverty and social exclusion as concepts for policy and analysis in contemporary...

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