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European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)

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European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010)

The fight against poverty and social exclusion is a primary objective of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. A significant part of the European population is in a situation of poverty and lacks access to basic services. The launch of a European Year dedicated to this objective is intended to give a new impetus to the process of social inclusion.


Decision No 1098/2008/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2008 on the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (2010) (Text with EEA relevance).


On the occasion of the European Year 2010, the European Union (EU) reaffirms its commitment to the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It promotes a social model contributing to the welfare of individuals, their participation in society and the economic development of Europe.

The fight against poverty and social exclusion is linked to a series of socioeconomic and cultural factors which call for multidimensional strategies of national, regional and local dimension. It requires the participation of public authorities and individuals alike.

Objectives and beneficiaries

This initiative aims at informing European citizens but also to give a voice to people in a situation of poverty and social exclusion.

In accordance with the European principles of solidarity and social justice, the Year will have four guiding principles.

Recognition of the fundamental right of people in a situation of poverty to live in dignity and to play a full part in society. In particular, the aim is to guarantee access to resources, social services, culture and leisure.

Promotion of social cohesion, in the form of actions to enhance quality of life, social welfare, equal opportunities and sustainable development, by promoting an employment market that is open to all and the principle of equality in education and training. In particular, these actions will target victims of discrimination, people with disabilities, children and situations of family poverty, vulnerable groups or groups in a situation of extreme poverty.

Shared responsibility and collective and individual participation, to expand the role of all public or private actors in the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

Commitment and political action by the Member States and the EU, and the intensification of actions taken at all levels of authority. In this respect, the potential of the open method of coordination (OMC[m1]) introduced by the EU in 2000 in the fields of social protection and inclusion must be better exploited.

Actions and procedure

This initiative will give rise to actions launched at Community and national level. They will take the form of public awareness campaigns, innovative and creative initiatives, or meetings, discussions and studies. A committee of representatives of the Member States will support the Commission in the implementation of the European Year.

The Member States shall carry out these actions through national programmes adapting the Community guidelines to the challenges and priorities of each country. Each Member State shall appoint a body to prepare and implement these programmes. Those bodies will cooperate with civil society, the social partners, and regional and local authorities.

These objectives should be pursued both within the EU and beyond its borders. The initiative is open to participation by European Free Trade Association (EFTA) States, candidate countries for EU accession and third countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).


The building of a society which is founded on social inclusion and on reducing poverty is one of the essential priorities of the EU. At the Lisbon summit in 2000 the Member States committed themselves to making progress towards the elimination of poverty in Europe by 2010.

Carried out in the context of the process of social inclusion, their actions require the wider participation of all the actors involved.


Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 1098/2008/EC



OJ L 298 of 7.11.2008

See also

For further information, visit the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Last updated: 02.03.2009