The EU and Social Inclusion: Facing the Challenges

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Social cohesion is one of the declared objectives of the European Union and, with some 16% of EU citizens at risk of poverty, the need to fight poverty and social exclusion continues as a major challenge. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the EU Social Inclusion Process, the means by which it hopes to meet this objective, and explores the challenges ahead at local, regional, national and EU levels. It sets out concrete proposals for taking the Process forward. The book provides a unique analysis of policy formulation and assessment. Setting out the evolution and current state of EU cooperation in social policy, it examines what can be learned about poverty and social exclusion from the EU commonly agreed indicators. Taking the position of outside, but informed, observers, the authors explore the further development of the common indicators, including the implications of Enlargement, and consider the challenges of advancing the Social Inclusion Process - strengthening policy analysis, embedding the Process in domestic policies and making it more effective. Proposing the setting of targets and restructuring of National Action Plans and their implementation, they emphasise the need for widespread ownership of the Process at domestic and EU level and for it to demonstrate significant progress in reducing poverty and social exclusion. The book will be invaluable to academics, students and policy-makers at sub-national, national and EU levels as well as to social partners, and NGOs working towards a more inclusive society.