Selected Readings




  Just published

Occupational Welfare in Europe: Risks, opportunities and social partner involvement
David Natali and Emmanuele Pavolini with Bart Vanhercke

This new edited volume on occupational welfare in Europe is based on a European Commission - funded research project coordinated by the European Social Observatory (OSE) and published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). It focuses on recent developments in the field of pensions and unemployment-related schemes in nine countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.


  Public Debate/Book presentation

Social policy in the European Union: a state of play – 5 March 2018
Philippe Lamberts (MEP-Group of the Greens) and the OSE are holding a presentation-debate in the European Parliament to discuss the EU’s social legacy and future. Keynote speakers are Amandine Crespy (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Daniel Clegg (University of Edinburgh) and Philippe Pochet (European Trade Union Institute).



  Joint Centro Einaudi and OSE Working Paper

The Development and Determinants of ‘Occupational Welfare’ in the Recalibration of European Welfare Regimes: A Comparative Perspective
Mapelli, L. (2017)

This paper suggests that, overall, occupational welfare is becoming increasingly important in European welfare mixes; however, the quantity and quality of its development depend on a number of field-specific and country-specific variables. The paper concludes that occupational welfare can retain a social policy function, provided that it is handled with care and built upon a solid public underpinning.


  OSE Opinion Paper

The EU’s Youth Guarantee: a broadly accepted reform in need of full implementation
Andor L. and Veselý L. (2018)
What is the significance of the EU's Youth Guarantee initiative, and does it qualify as a ’structural reform’? What would it take for the Youth Guarantee to be fully implemented across the EU? This OSE Opinion paper reviews the main lessons learned since the Youth Guarantee's launch in 2013 and makes the case for an increased level of ambition, specifically in the context of the EU's post-2020 budget.


  Eurofound/OSE joint event

Self-employment in Europe: labour market and social protection
The half-day event (09/02/2018) will be an opportunity to explore recent Eurofound and OSE research on the issues surrounding self-employment and social protection. In particular, it will be an opportunity to share expertise in the context of the European Commission’s initiative on ‘social protection for all’.



  Key publication

Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2017 
The European Social Observatory and the European Trade Union Institute just published the 18th edition of their flagship publication. It provides easily accessible information about recent developments as well as a more analytical reading and a forward-looking perspective for stakeholders and policymakers alike. 


Free download


Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2017
To mark the 18th edition of this flagship publication, the OSE and the ETUI are holding a presentation-debate on 12 December 2017. The future of the European and the EU’s economic governance figure among the debated topics. Confirmed speakers include Gabriele Bischoff, Maxime Cerutti, Amandine Crespy, Jeroen Jutte, Katja Lehto-Komulainen, Kelig Puyet, Freek Spinnewijn and Mario Telò. 



Regulating health professions in a European perspective
On the occasion of a major reform of the regulatory framework for health professions in Belgium, this conference will look at the experience of other EU Member States and explore in more detail how EU integration affects the organisation and regulation of health professions.



  Interview Alter Échos

'Social Europe exists!'
Bart Vanhercke declares loud and clear: Social Europe exists! He doesn't deny the over-emphasis placed on austerity by the European institutions. But the Union's social projects, on hold for a while, could now be relaunched thanks to the 'social rights pillar' proposed by the Commission.


  5 September 2017

OSE-ETUI Lunch debate: Pensions for workers in arduous jobs 
In order to shed light on the retirement patterns and the current policy developments regarding the workers in arduous and hazardous jobs, this lunch debate will discuss the key findings of a recent ESPN report. Speakers: Slavina Spasova, Bart Vanhercke, Celien Vanmoerkerke, Marie-Noëlle Vanderhoven and Valdis Zagorskis.


  Job quality

Ramón Peña-Casas (OSE) recently presented at a seminar (EESC, 9 June 2017) some dimensions of the job quality of the low skilled workers in the EU, showing that the jobs they are occupying are from a lower quality than those of worker with higher skills. The seminar titled 'Existe-t-il un futur pour le travail peu qualifié en Europe ?' was organised by the European Coordination Committee – CEC, the European umbrella organisation of bodies of socio-economic insertion.

(in French)

  Panel debate

Should the accounting rules of the Stability and Growth Pact on public investment be modified ?
Panel debate, 8 June 2017, Brussels 
(Languages: NL, FR, EN, DE)
The debate will discuss the pros and cons of a new 'EMU-fit' golden rule, introduced via minor changes in the Stability and Growth Pact. Serious consideration should be given to the way public investment is handled, and to making its treatment more favourable.



  New publication

Access to social protection for people working on non-standard contracts and as self-employed in Europe - A study of national policies
Spasova S., Bouget D., Ghailani D. & Vanhercke B. (2017)
This new ESPN report demonstrates that while non-standard workers and self-employed may be formally covered by a social protection scheme, in many cases they do not have effective access because eligibility conditions are not tailored to their needs. Recent domestic reforms extend social protection of the self-employed, but they still have lower coverage and receive lower benefits, while their poverty risk rate is an alarming three times higher than salaried workers.



  OSE Opinion Paper

Was the exclusion of health care from the Services Directive a pyrrhic victory?
A proportionality test on regulation of health professions
Baeten R. (2017)
In January 2017, the EC launched a proposal for a proportionality test on regulation of professions, including health professions. The proposal closely recalls Article 15 of the Directive on Services in the internal market. Thispaper shows that the concerns that led to the exclusion of health services from the Services Directive apply in the same way to the newly proposed Directive, and analyses why a proposal that is very similar to the text that provoked strong reactions a decade ago, now seems to pass without much controversy.


  New publication

Connecting entrepreneurship with policy experimentation? The EU framework for social innovation
Sabato S., Vanhercke B. and Verschraegen G.
Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, Vol. 30 (2) 2017
This article investigates how social innovation’ made its way onto the EU agenda and how this notion has been creatively used to advance distinct policy goals. It does so by analysing the resources the EU provided to promote social innovation over the period 2006–2014. Over time, social innovation has become a significant vehicle in the European Semester’s focus on the reform of the welfare state.



  Policies for an Aged Workforce in the EU (PAWEU)

Stakeholders meeting (5 May 2017, Brussels) and Final Conference (29 May 2017, Rome)
In spite of the current strong emphasis in all EU countries on means to tackle youth unemployment, the participation of older individuals in the labour market remains a significant policy challenge. OSE is participating to an EU-funded project on Policies for an Aged Workforce in the EU (PAWEU) and will organise a stakeholders’ workshop in Brussels to discuss the outcomes of the project. The OSE researchers Ramón Peña-Casas and Dalila Ghailani will also present they key findings of the project during the Final Conference (Rome), together with the Fondazione Brodolini (IT).


  OSE Research Paper

Listened to, but not heard? Social partners’ multilevel involvement in the European Semester
Sabato S. and Vanhercke B. with Spasova S. (2017)

This Working paper explores the involvement of national and EU social partners in the procedures of the European Semester, examining the mechanisms for involvement, its outcomes, quality and remaining challenges for effective social partner involvement.


  New research

European Semester review: which way forward for a social Europe?
With inequality increasing across Europe and the EU not on track to achieve the EU 2020 objectives, the European Social Network (ESN) has again asked the OSE to provide scientific underpinning of its work on the European Semester. The focus will be on the impact of austerity policies on public social services management and provision, territorial disparities and evidence-based policy-making.   >
ESN European Semester Report 2017 (PDF)


  New publication

Balancing protection and investment: structural reforms in five countries
Agostini C., Lisi V., Natali, D. and Sabato S. (2016)
ETUI, Brussels, 124 p.
This timely report provides evidence that the EU influenced structural reforms in EU Member States but lacked a coherent agenda to support growth. In such a context, different countries implemented different reform strategies that reflected their (partly) diverging socio-economic models.


Free download

  New ESPN report

Sick pay and sickness benefit schemes in the European Union
Slavina Spasova, Denis Bouget and Bart Vanhercke contributed to the Social Protection Committee’s In-depth Review on sickness benefits with a report showing that sickness benefit schemes have been subject to reforms in almost all Member States. The Background report was written in the context of the European Social Policy Network (ESPN).

Read the
report (PDF) | More info on ESPN project


  New research

International Digest - Revue Belge de Sécurité Sociale
The OSE was awarded a new contract with the Belgian Federal Public Service Social Security with a view to writing, for the next three years, the ‘International Digest’ for the quarterly Belgian Review for Social Security (RBSS/BTSZ). 


  OSE Research Paper

Governing occupational pensions and unemployment benefits:
the state, the market and the social partners in-between?

Natali D., Sabato S. and Mapelli L. with Vanhercke B. (2017)

The paper demonstrates that occupational welfare is not purely the ‘realm’ of the social partners, who find themselves squeezed between the state and market forces. It also shows that the spread of OW is not a synonym of the withdrawal of the state. The governance of OW is both ‘multi-level’ and ‘hybrid’, and increasingly opaque.


  Presentation-debate : 27 February  2017

Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2016 
To mark the 17th edition of their flagship publication, the European Social Observatory and the European Trade Union Institute hold a presentation-debate hosted by the Workers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee.
Speakers include Gabriele Bischoff, Denis Bouget, Maxime Cerutti, Sofia Fernandes, Esther Lynch, David Natali, Ruth Owen, Ruth Paserman, Philippe Pochet, Martin Seeleib-Kaiser and Bart Vanhercke.





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