Madrid will host the launch of European Year for combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

2010 will be the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion - a one-year programme aimed at raising awareness on poverty and social exclusion. It will be implemented in all EU Member States as well as in Iceland and Norway, with a total budget of €17 million (to be complemented by national co-financing), covering activities at European as well at national level.

The European Year events are being organised in partnership between participating countries, the EU, civil society, especially non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and social partners, who will work together to ensure its success. A range of activities will be organised across Europe, such as awareness-raising campaigns, information sessions in schools, roundtables and training for the media and decision-makers. The activities and events planned at European level include two focus weeks, a journalist competition, an art exhibition, and two major conferences in January and December 2010.

The Year will be launched in Madrid, on 21 January 2010 at a high-level conference being organised by the Spanish Presidency and the European Commission.

The background

Ten years ago, at the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, EU leaders pledged to 'make a decisive impact on the eradication of poverty' by 2010. Since then, many efforts have been made (e.g. through the Open Method of Coordination), yet a significant number of Europeans still live in poverty: approximately 80 million people are at risk of poverty, including 19 million children. Poverty and exclusion affect not only the wellbeing of individuals and their ability to play a part in society; they also impair economic development.

With all this in mind, the EU is stressing the importance of collective responsibility in combating poverty, involving decision-makers and actors in the public and private sectors. The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion will seek to give a voice to those experiencing poverty on a daily basis.

European Parliament proposed 2010 to be European Year for Combating Poverty in june 2008, and it was officially designated by the Council later that year. Recently, Brussels has hosted a conference on “Poverty: Perceptions and Reality - The Communication Challenge as part of the preparatory action if the year.