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Max Koch. Foto: Johan Persson.

Max Koch


Max Koch. Foto: Johan Persson.

Multilevel “Arenas” for Fighting Poverty and Social exclusion. National report Sweden.


  • Alexandru Panican
  • Anna Angelin
  • Håkan Johansson
  • Max Koch

Summary, in English

Poverty and to fight poverty is certainly on top of the EU agenda and especially in the wake of the economic and financial crisis that has struck many European Member States. Poverty is a central element of the newly initiated EU2020 strategy and the EU´s ambition is to seek to lift at least 20 Million people out of poverty and social exclusion to the year 2020. This report has addressed the following issues: i) the domestic side of the EU2020 strategy and especially national-supranational interactions in order to assess the potentials and the bottlenecks of EU2020 implementation, ii) the relevance of the EU2020 anti-poverty strategy in relation to domestic policy-making and analyse whether the abovementioned EU2020 strategy has had any ‘effect’ on national policies and contributed to a change in the ways by which the poverty issue is being framed at national and local levels and iii) whether, and in case to what extent, the Europe 2020 anti-poverty strategy is leading to the emergence of a multilevel & multi-stakeholder as well as integrated (across policy sectors) arenas nationally.

The report demonstrates extensive bottlenecks with regard to the successful implementation of the EU2020 strategy. The report demonstrates a gap between the EU2020 strategy and domestic policy-making in the field of active inclusion policies and above all policies regarding social assistance. Although we found elements of a domestic poverty debate in response to the activities to develop and establish common poverty indicators and definitions at EU-level, our interpretation is that these operations have had limited effect on domestic policy-making. The report exemplifies some of the bottlenecks for such a successful implementation, one of them certainly being that poverty per se is not considered part of the Swedish social model, and hence generally attributed as a problematic policy area in itself. We also find few domestic actors that seek to and/or have the capacity to mobilize around the poverty issue at national level (including political parties as well as other stakeholders including CSOs) and also limited interest on part of central Ministries to take direct action in this area.

This leads us to the question of the relevance of the EU2020 anti-poverty strategy in relation to domestic policy-making. In general, we conclude that the EU2020 strategy has had limited ‘effect’ on national policies and above all if we seek to identify substantial policy changes. However, to some extent the EU2020 strategy did cause some reaction among domestic stakeholders, and also debates among government Ministries, yet then much more in terms of defining a national agenda as different from the EU2020 strategy.

Last but not least, the EU2020 strategy has undoubtedly established poverty as a multi-level political issue that is debated and discussed at European, national and local levels, yet in our study it appears that the links are mainly established by the means of the reporting systems to the EU as part of the European semester. We also find extensive gaps between ministries in terms of which part of the central government that decide over the topic and also limited – even less to than in the OMC on social inclusion – involvement from CSOs in the deliberation and completion of the Reports being sent to the Commission.


  • School of Social Work

Publishing year




Document type



University of Oldenburg, Jean Monnet Centre for Europeanisation and Transnational Regulations, Institute for Social Sciences


  • Social Work


  • poverty
  • fight poverty
  • EU
  • 2020 strategy
  • financial crisis
  • social exclusion
  • social inclusion
  • multilevel
  • multi-stakeholder
  • implementation