This book aims to contribute to our understanding of substantive issues that face Social Europe and to the development of methods that can be applied to yield new insights into issues related to income, material deprivation and work. The book assembles 26 research studies carried out as part of the European Union (EU) funded ‘Second Network for the analysis of EU‑SILC’ (Net‑SILC2) project. It is expected to provide an important input into the strengthening of the social dimension of the EU, including the monitoring of the EU social inclusion target which EU Heads of state and government agreed upon in 2010 as part of the Europe 2020 strategy

By András Gábos & Tim Goedemé, 2016


In 2010, heads of state and government agreed on the Europe 2020 poverty reduction target. The target is measured on the basis of a composite indicator, including income poverty, severe material deprivation and very low work intensity. In this paper, we summarise the main findings and conclusions of a series of studies carried out in the ImPRovE project, with regard to the quality of the three underlying indicators and their cross-sectional, longitudinal and dynamic relationships. By doing so, we point to relevant policy conclusions and areas for further improvement of the indicators and poverty research.

By Maria Petmesidou, 2017


In 2010, amidst the financial and sovereign debt crisis, the launching of a novel European strategy for “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” signalled a significant step in the European coordination strategies for tackling poverty and social exclusion. Crucial in this respect is the unprecedented prominence accorded to a quantified goal in poverty reduction across the EU, to be achieved by 2020, along a supranational governance process that sets the ambitious aim of bringing the social field within the framework of EU financial and economic governance. In this paper, we critically examine how this new strategy has fared so far and what the expectations are for its effectiveness in combating poverty and social exclusion within the set timeframe.

By Stefan Bernhard, 2007


The implementation of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) in the field of European social policy has been a major turning point for European Union (EU) integration in recent years. By setting common European objectives and leaving their attainment to Member States, the OMC was initiated to trigger learning processes on the national level. The method has sparked tremendous scientific research (see e.g. Hodson/Maher 2001, Heritiér 2002, Mosher/Trubek 2003, Jacobsson 2004). However, scholars diverge when it comes to evaluating the method’s potential for policy change. Those emphasising learning are more optimistic (Rhodes/Goetschy/Mosher 2000, de la Porte/Pochet/Room 2001) than those who question its effectiveness due to the lack of sanctioning mechanisms (Scharpf 2000, 2002, Schäfer 2005)

Notwithstanding disagreement, both assessments rely on the assumption that the OMC actually works as a decentralised learning process, implying that no paradigm concerning social exclusion exists at the European level. However, it is time to question this taken-for-granted assumption. It is argued that the OMC disseminates a European paradigm of social exclusion. The institutions established in order to enable voluntary learning by national and sub-national actors constitute in fact the infrastructure for the dissemination of an European paradigm of social exclusion. It is argued that streamlining the OMC process further carves out these basic characteristics, thereby intensifying the effects of paradigm dissemination triggered by policy coordination with the OMC.