Session C1: Poverty in the EU: ‘Official’ measurement and main trends

Session organisers: Tim Goedemé (UA-CSB), András Gábos (TÁRKI), Koen Decancq (UA-CSB)


      1. Ron Diris (KULeuven): Mapping at-risk-of-poverty rates, household employment, and social spending
      2. Kornelia Kozovska (DG EMPL – SPC), Reducing poverty and social exclusion in the European Union: principal challenges and priorities for the European Commission
      3. Anne-Catherine Guio / Eric Marlier (CEPS/INSTEAD): Alternative vs. current measures of material deprivation at EU level: What difference does it make?
      4. Rudi Van Dam (SPC-ISG / FPS Social Security Belgium): The challenges of changing a central Europe 2020 target indicator



In December 2001 the European Council adopted the so-called Laeken social indicators as a toolbox for monitoring poverty in the European Union. Over time, this toolbox has been extended and updated, and has shown its value for evaluating poverty trends in the EU and identifying vulnerable groups in the EU’s Member States. In 2010, three of the EU’s poverty and social exclusion indicators received a special status, when the Europe 2020 poverty reduction target was adopted. With setting this target, the EU and its member states committed itself to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020.

The purpose of this session is twofold: in the first part, we examine past poverty trends making use of the EU’s toolbox for identifying the main challenges for reducing poverty in the EU and meeting the Europe 2020 targets. In the second part, we focus on more practical challenges of using social indicators for defining a policy target. More in particular, we scrutinise the revision of the Europe 2020 poverty reduction indicator of material deprivation and reflect upon the policy and communication challenges of changing a central target indicator before the target has been reached.

Background Documents: