This article investigates the minority dimension of EU social policy and how the conceptualization of ethnic minorities’ socio-economic inclusion has evolved over time. Three findings are drawn from the close analysis of overlapping EU agendas on social inclusion and minority inclusion. First, although there are no comprehensive data on European minorities’ socio-economic condition, significant evidence has been collected at EU-level that minorities are consistently at a disadvantage. Second, the growing recognition that minorities suffer disproportionally from socio-economic exclusion has not been accompanied by an increasing willingness to consider structural policy approaches. Rather, a policy paradigm has emerged that prioritises job creation, growth and employability as the one-size-fits-all solution to social exclusion. I call this the ‘trickle-down’ approach to minority social inclusion. Third, the economic crisis crystallized this mismatch between problem and EU policy approach but did not cause it.