GINI DP 19: The EU 2020 poverty target


As part of its 2020 Strategy adopted in 2010, the EU has set a number of headline targets including one for poverty reduction over the next decade. This is a major development in the role accorded to social inclusion in the EU, and thus very important at the level of principle. However, the specific way the target itself has been framed, and the implications for approaches to implementing it, also merit careful consideration. The population identified in framing the target is persons in the member states either below a country-specific relative income poverty threshold, above a material deprivation threshold, or in a “jobless” household. This paper presents an in-depth analysis and critique of the way that target is formulated on both conceptual and empirical grounds and documents the consequence for our understanding of both cross-national and socio-economic patterning of poverty. The paper concludes with a discussion of alternative approaches to combining low income and material deprivation to identify those most in need from a poverty reduction perspective.

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