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.
"... currently the most authoritative account of the evolution of the indicators, their potential for analysis and the areas in which they could be strengthened." Martina Dieckhoff and Duncan Gallie, 'The renewed Lisbon Strategy and social exclusion policy', Industrial Relations Journal 38:6
"A major strength of the book is its emphasis on new perspectives for research and policy development. ... performs a valuable service in covering so much ground so thoroughly." Journal of Social Policy
"...this book addresses fundamental principles and policies underpinning our work." British Journal of Social Work
"...the most authoritative account of the evolution of the indicators, their potential for analysis and the areas in which they could be strengthened." Industrial Relations Journal
"The EU Heads of State and Government have committed in Lisbon to making a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty by 2010. Even though the tools for fighting poverty and social exclusion rely primarily upon national actors, the Union is an active catalyst of their wills through sharpening diagnoses and highlighting the ways forward. The Union needs to become more aware of the linkages between its economic responsibilities and social cohesion. For this there is nothing more important than rigorous quantitative vigilance, of which this book is a clear illustration." Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission, 1985-1995
"The clear setting and exposition of this book will ensure it proves a valuable resource to all actors engaged with the EU Social Inclusion Process and researchers in Social Policy and European Studies." Journal of Common Market Studies
Tony Atkinson is currently holder of a Chaire Blaise Pascal at the Paris School of Economics, and was Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford from 1994 to 2005. Bea Cantillon is Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Policy at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Eric Marlier is the international scientific advisor of the CEPS/INSTEAD Research Institute, Luxembourg, and is regularly called as an international policy advisor on the Social Inclusion Process. Brian Nolan is Research Professor and Head of the Social Policy Research Division at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Ireland.
Introduction: The EU Social Inclusion Process and the key issues; Exploring statistics on poverty and social exclusion in the EU; Strengthening policy analysis; EU indicators for poverty and social exclusion; Taking forward the EU Social Inclusion Process; The EU and Social Inclusion: facing the challenges.