ACTIVE INCLUSION AND THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY: THE CHALLENGE OF INTEGRATED SERVICES (COPE)

This European Policy Brief published by COPE (research project co-financed by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Programme), and written by Katharina Zimmermann, invites us to think about the integration of Minimum Income Protection, labour market policies and social services.

Presenting the context, Katharina Zimmermann reminds us that ” reducing poverty and social exclusion is one of the main challenges for ensuring social cohesion in modern Europe. […] Minimum Income Protection (MIP) is one of the main pillars of European welfare states: it is meant to be a last resort of income support for those whose own income does not suffice to finance their own as well as their dependents’ livelihood. With only very few exceptions ( Italy, Bulgaria and Greece), all EU countries provide such a means-tested, tax-financed guarantee of minimum resources. During the last decade, these MIP systems have mostly turned their focus from passive and unconditional benefits towards a stronger employment orientation: they have been subsumed under the activation principle. The aim was to integrate benefit recipients into the labour market instead of passively sustaining them with financial means. However, MIP recipients often suffer from multiple social problems. Thus, effective support for their social and labour market inclusion also requires individualised social service support. This refers to the crucial importance of active inclusion, which has been defined as the combination of minimum income support, activation and social services (see Heidenreich et al. 2014)”.

Download the full document from COPE