During the second half of 2010, Belgium will take on the Presidency of the European Union. That this tenure happens to coincide with the ‘European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion’ offers an ideal opportunity to devote special attention to the problem of poverty and social exclusion as it currently exists in Belgium, as well as to the question of how the fi ght against poverty is being conducted there. At the same time, these events are an incentive to assess the poverty situation and the poverty policy in the country with reference to the European context.
This book presents an overview of recent facts and fi gures, policy measures and scientifi c research about poverty and social exclusion in Belgium. What exactly is the level of poverty in the country? What are the most important Belgian policy measures at this time? What role has been assigned to the Federal Government in the fi ght against poverty? We are providing answers to these and other questions by making reference to concrete topics such as health, debt mediation, child poverty, social rights, housing, integration policy, participation, active inclusion, and the right to social integration. Likewise, we are examining the role played by Europe in the Belgian policy.
The year 2010 is also the year when the Lisbon Strategy expires; a new European strategy – Europe 2020 – will be implemented. It is also the year wherein the impact of the economic crisis is severely felt, especially in the area of employment. How successful are Belgium, the Belgian Presidency, and Europe in confronting and coping with such challenges?