Working poor in Europe. The objective of combating social exclusion and poverty was a prominent feature of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, which presented the vision of a socially cohesive as well as an economically prosperous and competitive European Union. Employment is often claimed to be the best protection against poverty. However, available data at EU level indicate that as many as 6% of employees and 18% of self-employed people are classified as poor. The ‘working poor’ are a section of the population that is difficult to identify not only due to the lack of specific data but also because the concept combines two levels of analysis: the working status of individuals (individual level) and the income status of the household in which they live, which is below the poverty threshold (collective level).