Selected Readings




  Healthcare report

Inequalities in access to healthcare in Belgium
Sophie Cès and Rita Baeten (2020)
Access to healthcare in Belgium is, for the population as a whole, relatively good. However, disparities between socio-economic groups remain significant and have even increased over the last decade as a result of the substantial deterioration of the situation for vulnerable groups. This report - commissioned by the Belgian National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI/INAMI/RIZIV) - analyses the characteristics of individuals with most difficulties accessing necessary healthcare. It also describes healthcare services and products for which financial barriers are highest, and analyses the main access hurdles. It furthermore proposes policy recommendations to improve the situation, especially for the most vulnerable. 

(Report,  summary)

Press release
NL | FR 

  OSE Opinion Paper

Covid-19: Lessons from disadvantaged communities for EU social policy
Hugh Frazer (2020)
COVID-19 is affecting everyone, but its impact is much greater for disadvantaged groups and communities. It is highlighting existing inequalities and many of the measures to counter it are exacerbating these inequalities. More positively the crisis is leading to an enhanced sense of social solidarity and a growing awareness of the urgent need to do more to combat poverty and inequality. Drawing on evidence from some of Europe's most disadvantaged communities this OSE Opinion Paper argues for a much stronger Social Europe. It sets out a series of priorities for the EU's social policies which should be at the heart of its response to the COVID-19 crisis and are essential to build a more inclusive and sustainable EU.

  OSE Opinion Paper

Why, in almost all countries, was residential care for older people so badly affected by COVID-19?
Declercq A., de Stampa M., Geffen L., Heckman G., Hirdes J., Finne-Soveri H., Lum T., Millar N., Morris J.N., Onder G., Szczerbińska K., Topinkova E. and van Hout H. (2020)
In many countries, residential care for older people was not prepared for a public health crisis: although it was very clear that frail older people were most vulnerable to COVID-19, these places, with the highest concentration of this population, did not have the necessary resources, had no plan, and became the focus of attention too late. As a consequence, the percentage of care home residents as a share of total deaths ranges from 24% in Hungary to 82% in Canada. The authors of this Opinion Paper argue that this is tragic evidence of how ageism taints the approach to care. The paper discusses what happened in residential care, why it happened, and what should be done.

  OSE Opinion Paper

Another European rescue of the Member States? EU public health policy for COVID-19
Scott L.Greer (2020)
The role of the EU through history is to rescue Member States from problems they cannot solve on their own. What can the EU do if and when Member States learn that they are too tightly connected to self-isolate? Within Article 168 of the TFEU, the existing public health powers, there are options. Article 168 is written to put Member States in charge, which means that most of its language seems to weaken the EU, but it enables forceful action if Member States want it. This Opinion paper discusses some of the forceful actions that Member States might find they need to take together if the EU is to rescue them from the COVID-19 health crisis.

  INVOTUNES - New publications

Trade union involvement in the European Semester
The fruit of the two-year INVOTUNES research project is now available for the wider public: 8 country case studies (BE-BG-FI-DE-HU-IT-PT-SE), 3 analytical papers, the final report (including policy recommendations) and the executive summary (in 10 languages). The PowerPoint presentations of the final conference and a short video of the event are equally available.

  EFISTU publications

Public service trade unions and the European Semester/EFISTU
How can the trade union movement ensure that the voice of public service workers is heard and listened to in the European Semester? This question was at the heart of the EFISTU research project conducted by EPSU, ETUCE, the University of Nottingham and the OSE. Check out the key research findings, including five country case studies (DK, FR, IE, IT and LV) and 18 language versions of the Summary report.

  New publication

Social policy in the EU 1999-2019: the long and winding road
B.Vanhercke, D. Ghailani and S. Spasova, with P. Pochet (Eds.)
The 20th edition anniversary of this OSE and ETUI flagship book (EN/FR) analyses the twists and turns of a social policy paradigm permanently overshadowed by financial considerations. Progress and political struggles towards a genuine ‘Social Europe’ continue to be on the agenda of various players, but the road towards it will remain long and winding. A short video and the presentations of the 12 March 2020 launch event are available online.

  European and international digest

Revue Belge de Sécurité sociale (RBSS) : Digest européen – Digest international (FR/NL)
B. Fronteddu and D. Bouget

"Le premier semestre de l’année 2019 a été marqué par l’adoption de plusieurs directives et règlements européens en matière de politique sociale. Certains textes législatifs ont fait l’objet de très longues négociations révélant, une fois de plus, la fracture entre les Etats membres d’Europe de l’Est et les Etats membres d’Europe occidentale (...)". 
Ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands: Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Sociale Zekerheid (

  OSE Opinion Paper

La finance contre le réchauffement climatique : un loup déguisé en agneau
Boris Fronteddu (2020)
La lutte contre le réchauffement climatique souffre d’un déficit d’investissement. Pour y pallier, l’Union européenne (UE) veut encourager les investisseurs institutionnels à diriger leur capital vers des investissements plus durables. En établissant une classification harmonisée des activités économiques vertes, l’UE entend accompagner les investisseurs privés dans cette transition. Selon l’auteur de ce Working Paper, une telle classification n’est susceptible de recevoir le soutien de l’industrie financière qu’à la condition qu’elle ne remette pas en cause ses intérêts fondamentaux. Ceux-ci sont, pourtant, aux antipodes des engagements que nécessite une transition écologique crédible. Il ne suffit pas de déguiser un loup en agneau pour qu'il cesse de s'en repaître. 

  ESPN Synthesis Report

Social protection expenditure and its financing in Europe, A study of national policies 2019
Spasova S. and Ward T. (2019), European Social Policy Network (ESPN).
This Synthesis report produced by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) shows that, while the Great Recession increased the need for spending, cost-containment policies have kept down both expenditure on old-age pensions and healthcare. The share of social contributions in the funding of social protection has tended to decline, compensated by an increase in the share of funding from taxes. The report concludes that, while systems which rely on social contributions are not under threat, their financing may need to be diversified in order to maintain adequate levels of protection in the longer-term.






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