Combating Poverty in Europe
COPE is a project funded by the 7th Framework of the European Commission Programme (FP7). Starting in February 2012, research teams from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Norway and Germany will be working on this project for 3 years.
To combat poverty, European strategies propose implementing active inclusion policies. However, these policies face serious conceptual questions and governance challenges. Practical implementation is problematic in that social exclusion is a multidimensional problem that goes far beyond financial poverty, necessitating the participatory co-production of individual opportunities. In addition, the complex social needs of the most excluded groups require the integration of different policy fields and the involvement of beneficiaries, civil society and public agencies in the co-production of welfare. This project focuses on the political and organisational challenges of this complex governance model which has evolved from European, national and local policies. Investigating the co-production of active inclusion in a multilevel, multidimensional and multi-stakeholder perspective addresses key questions: How can the combat against poverty be organised in practice? How do European, national and local institutions shape the co-production of active inclusion? How do beneficiaries participate in these policies and how does this shape their life courses?
COPE integrates multiple disciplines and partners experienced in European and Social Policy research. A common theoretical and methodological approach guides the research in each work package. COPE will create a critical mass of research in three key areas: First, we will contextualise poverty as a multidimensional challenge. Secondly, COPE will study how minimum income schemes for three different groups (lone mothers, long-term unemployed, working poor) are organised in five EU countries (Italy, Germany, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and how they cope with multilevel and multi-stakeholder modes of co-producing active inclusion policies. As these countries cover different welfare regimes, the results will have direct EU-wide relevance. To conclude, we will analyse the impact of these approaches on the individually perceived situation of the poor and the life courses of the most vulnerable social groups.