Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Poverty: European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion

European Parliament - Approximately 80 million people in the EU have such limited resources that they cannot afford the basics and face unpredictable long-term consequences of the 2008 international economic and financial crisis. The 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion calls for political commitment, collective and individual public and private engagement and deconstruction of stereotypes and stigmas.

The European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion follows a joint decision by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers that explicitly recognises the right to live in dignity.

The definition of "extreme poverty" is deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. It also relates to a lack of access to health care facilities, shelter and education. It affects groups across the European Union, particularly the Roma community.

"Relative poverty" doesn't necessarily mean a lack of nutrition, health and shelter rather it is lack of access to many of the goods and services expected by the rest of the contemporary society. This is the more widespread form of poverty in the EU.

Social exclusion refers to those who don't enjoy levels of participation that most of society takes for granted, because of their poverty, lack of basic competences or lifelong learning, or as a result of discrimination.

This distances them from job, income and education opportunities as well as social and community networks and activities. They have little access to power and decision-making bodies and thus often feeling powerless and unable to take control over the decisions that affect their day to day lives’.

The criteria for decent living conditions include financial means, housing, ownership of durable goods, basic necessities and social integration, requirements and needs of children to live and develop well.

€17 million budget

The coming year has a €17 million budget (the highest budget ever granted to a European Year), of which €9 million is for activities in each member state. such as awareness campaigns, innovative initiatives and solidarity schemes aimed at promoting active inclusion.

As well as regional and local authorities many NGOs across Europe will be involved in raising awareness of the issues.

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