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Can we make

poverty history in
The EU is a relatively rich and prosperous part of the
world. Nevertheless, it is estimated that around 80
million Europeans live at risk of poverty, which is about 17% of the population.
Poverty is often associated with developing countries, where a lack of food and clean water can
often be a daily challenge. Europe is also affected by poverty and social exclusion. It may not
be as severe, but is nonetheless unacceptable. Poverty and exclusion of one individual amounts
to the poverty of society as a whole. Europe can only be strong if each individuals potential is
People living in poverty have to get by on less than 60% of average national household
incomes, according to a definition agreed on by the EU and its Member States.
Living with poverty means different things to different people. It can mean not being able to pay
the rent, mortgage or utility bills. It can mean going without proper meals, heating or clothing.
It may also mean having to cope with poor housing and in the worst cases, homelessness
along with limited job prospects.
What is more, poorer people often have to live with debts they cannot pay off because they
have to borrow to make ends meet. Even people in work may have to deal with povertyrelated problems if their wages are too low to provide an adequate living.
People who are poor also have to cope with limited access to education, training and leisure
facilities. A lack of access to health care and key social support services is also a problem for
Those most at risk of poverty and social exclusion include children (about 19 million children live
in poverty across the EU), elderly people, single parents, women, disabled people, migrants and
those from ethnic minorities.
There is no miracle solution to put an end to poverty and social exclusion. However, one thing is
sure: we cannot win the fight without you. The time is ripe to renew our commitment to
solidarity, social justice and greater inclusion. The time is ripe for the 2010 European Year
against Poverty and Social Exclusion.
A key value of the European Union is solidarity. As a union we are facing the crisis together, and
this solidarity creates a safety net for each and all of us.
Here are some of the things that we will do together:

Encourage involvement and political commitment from each and every segment of
society to participate in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, from the European
to the local level, whether public or private;

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Inspire each and every European citizen to participate in the fight against poverty and
social exclusion;

Give voice to the concerns and needs of people experiencing poverty and social

Engage with civil society and non-governmental organisations that fight poverty and
social exclusion;

Help deconstruct stereotypes and stigmas attached to poverty and social exclusion;

Promote a society that sustains and develops quality of life, social well-being and equal
opportunities for all;

Boost solidarity between generations and ensure sustainable development.

Source: http://www.2010againstpoverty.eu

A) Explain the meaning of the following words or expressions:

1. daily challenge

2. to make ends meet

3. the time is ripe

B) Find words in the text for the following definitions:

1. grave; critical (1st paragraph)

4. deal with (3rd paragraph)

2. survive (2nd paragraph)

5. liquidate (5th paragraph)

3. decent (2nd paragraph)

C) Say if these statements are true (T) or false (F). Give evidence from the text.
1. There is no poverty in Europe.
2. People should be valued in Europe.
3. Not everybody understands poverty the same way.
4. There are European values but each European country has to solve its problems on its
D) What about you? What do you think you can do to fight against poverty and
social exclusion?

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E) Living standards expressions choose the right option
1. Poverty is a relative measure that depends on prices, the standard of living, and the ......... that
others earn.

a) amounts

b) incomes

c) monies

d) pays

2. Families and individuals are defined as living in ......... if their incomes fall below certain levels.

a) poor

b) poverty

c) scarcity

d) dearth

3. Poverty in Europe is more ......... than most people realize.

a) wide

b) ample

c) broad

d) extensive

4. One reason for the continued high poverty numbers is the growing gap in the ......... of income.
a) distribution

b) exchange

c) transmission

d) movement

5. The shift from two-parent families to single-parent families and other non-family arrangements
tends to ......... average family income.

a) slighter

b) smaller

c) lesser

d) lower

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