Dear Sir or Madam,
The inter-federal poverty barometer was first presented in 2009, as was provided in the Federal Plan for Combating Poverty. Today I present to you the 2011 edition. The main goal of this instrument is to raise awareness concerning the phenomenon that is poverty in Belgium. The poverty barometer shows how widespread poverty really is and clarifies some of its essential characteristics. One out of 7 Belgian citizens is currently living below the poverty threshold. Poverty is often marked by a lack of income. But poverty constitutes more than a mere shortage of money. Poverty has an impact on each and every aspect of the lives of our poorest compatriots. Because of their vulnerable position, fundamental rights and basic needs such as healthcare, employment, education, housing etc. are often far out of their reach. ?Learning more about poverty in order to reach a better understanding of it, on all levels? is, in my opinion, a priority. This poverty barometer should indeed be an aid for determining all of our country?s policies. Furthermore, the poverty barometer allows us to compare the situation in our country to that of other European countries. This allows us to exchange knowledge between European countries as well. We must strive to point the poverty barometer?s meter to ?sunny skies?, which can only be accomplished through a joint effort to combat poverty! Finally I would like to thank our partners for their contribution towards the realisation of the 2011 Inter-Federal Poverty Barometer.