Informations and abstract
Keywords: Poverty; Social Inclusion; European Social Governance; Europe 2020; Domestic Effects.
Due to its peculiar combination of soft governance mechanisms with a hard quantitative target, in the field of anti-poverty policy the EU's overarching strategy Europe 2020 marked relevant discontinuity vis à vis the Lisbon strategy and the Social OMC. It was, thus, initially welcomed by the literature as a promising step towards stronger social Europe, but in the last years several contributions have questioned the effectiveness of both the new strategy and more generally the EU in combating poverty and social exclusion. Against this backdrop, the article has two main goals. First, it asks whether and how Europe matters in the fight against poverty and social exclusion within the novel Europe 2020 institutional framework, by presenting a qualitative in-depth empirical investigation on the effects of the strategy in six European countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Poland, UK and Sweden. Second, taking stock of the heterogeneous findings in the six selected countries, the article shows that domestic factors - namely, policy legacies, the relevance of EU social funds, as well as partisan preferences - were key in either favoring or hindering the implementation of the strategy at the national level in the first five annual cycles (2011-15). This allows drawing some key considerations around the potentials and the very limits of EU's anti-poverty strategies under the current treaty framework.