The fight against poverty and social exclusion is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. With more than 120 million people in the EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion, EU leaders have pledged to bring at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. In the aftermath of the crisis welfare states are called to address
multi-level social risks while securing their financial sustainability. This Review presents evidence from Framework Programme research projects with a view to address the challenges of poverty and social exclusion. It puts forward policy recommendations that put the emphasis on social investment and protection and pave the way for upward convergence in employment and social issues.