From Plato to Prodi

Governments Say - Official Documents

Poverty, Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion

La loi, dans un grand souci d'égalité, interdit aux riches comme aux pauvres de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues et de voler du pains.

The poor have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

Anatole France: Le Lys Rouge

Council Resolution of 21 January 1974 concerning a social action programme With this resolution the European Community took the first time a special responsibility in regard of the task if poverty and established a programme to combat poverty, affirming the orientation given in Paris 1972 'that economic expansion is not an end in itself but should result in an improvement of the quality of life as well as of the standard of living'
Council Decision of 18 July 1989 establishing a medium-term Community action programme concerning the economic and social integration of the economically and socially less privileged groups in society This document set up the third EUropean programme to combat poverty
Resolution of the Council and of the ministers for social affairs meeting within the Council of 29 September 1989 on combating social exclusion With this resolution the shift in the orientation  from "poverty" to "social exclusion" is highlighted. Actually it had been and still is much a contested shift. Paradoxically it had been very much welcomed from the UK (including scientists) who before strictly oriented on poverty as a material issue; whereas it is getting more and more contested  in France - from where it originally came. In France, poverty had never been seen solely  as a matter of resources. Instead, the French philosophy of the state had been very much concerned with cohesiveness and  the acceptance of the individual as part of the collective (this can be actually linked back to the absolutist understanding of the state, which has many repercussions as well in the particular understanding of French republicanism.

By the way, this particular understanding  was likely one of the issues that brought Pierre Bourdieu to the understanding of “concept de capital” and its culmination in the ‘esprit de calcul’ (e.g. Bourdieu, Pierre: Les structures sociales de l’Économie: Éditions du Seuil, 2000: 17), thus conceptualising the process of class building in an entirely different way as both Marx and Weber did.

However, in recent times, French Colleagues are getting more and more aware of the danger of blurring the problem of poverty.

Towards a Europe of Solidarity - Intensifying the fight against social exclusion, fostering integration This Communication from the Commission, issued on December 23rd, 1992 is actually one of the early documents drawing attention to the wider set of political responsibilities the European Communities have to accept (The page numbers of the table of contents refer to the original; the appendix is not reproduced here).
Judgement of the Court - May 12th, 1998 on Community action programme to combat social exclusion - Funding - Legal basis: Case 106_96 The history of EU-politics to combat poverty is marked by the lack of a legal basis. The first three programmes had been based more on a legal exception than a clear mandate for such activities. When a fourth programme had been planned some governments opposed, fearing that by several successive programmes a kind of precedence could be established (here for some background information: article on early EU-policies to combat poverty [German language]; article interpreting the judgment in the context of the 2nd EU-Social Forum, slightly revised from an early edition of the ESOSC newsletter European Interest). The Judgement of the Court which is documented gives some insight on this topic from the legal and EU-political perspective. The judgment has had huge consequences for the further development in the field of social policy in general.
The Open Method of Coordination and the fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion A brief description of the process and its elements - There are some external links in the documents for which no guarantee  can be taken
The Common Objectives on poverty and social exclusion which were agreed at the Nice Summit in December 2000 These are basically the guidelines, providing the suggestions and guidelines as they had been set by the European Union towards the member states
The National Action Plan on Social Inclusion - Ireland This is the Irish report of the first round of the NAPSincl process in the framework of the open method
Communication from The Commission. Draft Joint Report on Social Inclusion. Part 1 - The European Union  
Indicators for Social Inclusion in the European Union

by Tony Atkinson, Bea Cantillon, Eric Marlier and Brian Nolan

Report that had been  presented at Conference on “ Indicators for Social Inclusion: Making Common EU Objectives Work” – Antwerp, 14-15 September 2001 - the report had been largely taken as the basis for the further work on Social Indicators

- as it is an unpublished working document it is password protected, strictly only for teaching purposes. A revised version had been published: Social Indicators. The EU and Social Inclusion; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002

Joint report on social indicators  
Community Action Programme to Combat Exclusion - 2001  

Joint Report on Social Inclusion




The European Commission carried out an assessment of the NAPs/incl. Its report, The Draft Joint Report on Social Inclusion [COM (2001) 565 final], was adopted as a Communication of the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on 10th October 2001.

The Commission's communication then constituted the basis for the Joint Inclusion Report (JIR) of the Council and the Commission. The JIR was adopted by the Employment and Social Affairs Council on December 3rd and submitted to the EU Laeken-Brussels Summit on December 14th 2001.

It is the first time that the European Union endorses a policy document on poverty and social exclusion. This document synthesises and analyses the first set of National Action Plans on Social Inclusion (July 2001- July 2003) which were presented by the 15 Member States earlier in 2001.