New publication

Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2020
Facing the pandemic
Edited by B. Vanhercke, S. Spasova and B. Fronteddu
OSE, ETUI, Brussels, 2021


The 21th issue of this OSE and ETUI flagship book analyses the impact of the pandemic on EU social policymaking throughout 2019 and the first half of 2020, and discusses the prospects for Social Europe in different policy areas, including public health, eco-social policies, sustainable development, gender equality and in-work poverty. The ongoing ‘crisisification’ of European policymaking may, ultimately, pave the way for further European integration. 

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Social policy in the EU 2020: three launch events
To mark the launch of the OSE and ETUI flagship book 'Social policy in the EU: state of play 2020', we invite you to a series of webinars to discuss the economic and social consequences of Covid 19, the prospects for EU social policymaking in different policy areas and the overarching political strategy for the EU. The events will take place online on 12 January (2pm), 22 January (10am) and 28 January (2pm) and will gather researchers, policymakers and social stakeholders from across Europe.

  OSE Briefing Paper

Monitoring the labour market, public health and social consequences of Covid-19: essential resources for researchers and policymakers 
Monica Bridano (2020)
The Covid-19 outbreak has raised several important policy questions that have triggered the curiosity of a variety of think tanks, research institutes, governmental and international bodies and European institutions. These provide regular information and analysis about the public health, economic, environmental, labour market and social consequences of the pandemic. This OSE Briefing paper provides an overview of some of the key resources that may be useful for scholars, policymakers and social stakeholders alike.

  ETUI Working Paper

A socially just transition through the European Green Deal?
Sebastiano Sabato and Boris Fronteddu (2020)
The aim of this working paper is to provide a preliminary assessment of whether the European Green Deal constitutes a suitable policy framework to combine environmental and economic objectives with the pursuit of social fairness, thus ensuring a just transition towards more sustainable economies and societies. Such an assessment appears particularly relevant in a period in which the EU and its Member States are figuring out how to redesign their economies and societies in order to cope with the unprecedented social and economic crisis triggered by the Covid–19 pandemic.

  OSE Opinion Paper

The need for a ‘holistic’ workplace health and wellbeing strategy:
is the pandemic an opportune time for an EU breakthrough?
Ana Marta Guillén and Maria Petmesidou (2020)
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has brought occupational health and safety (OHS) to the fore, turning the leading role of the EU in this respect into a peremptory and pressing concern. The authors of this Opinion Paper argue in favour of moving beyond the current fragmented approach to OHS and placing it squarely in the field of social protection. This will allow for a holistic prevention and health promotion strategy, addressing old and new workplace hazards and overall wellbeing. Objectives to be reached should also include age-and gender-specific targeting, clearer legal and policy provisions, availability of research evidence, and enhanced monitoring of compliance with regulations.

  OSE Opinion Paper

Can Covid-19 change the EU competition law framework in health?
Mary Guy (2020)
While the EU competition law framework does not typically recognise modifications to take account of the specificities of the healthcare sector, the wide-ranging impact of Covid-19 has necessitated the introduction of temporary frameworks relaxing the application of the antitrust and state aid rules. This OSE Opinion paper argues that, as the pandemic evolves, it may be more pragmatic to re-examine in particular how the Services of General Economic Interest exception is used in the healthcare sector, rather than relying on definitions of ’temporary’, or cycles of application and disapplication of the temporary frameworks.

  Social Environmental Policies

It takes two to tango : how to jointly analyse social and environmental policies
ETUI Webinar, 3 September 2020, 14h-15h30
Until recently the analysis of social welfare systems in Europe was totally disconnected from ecological concerns and policies. But the recognition that both areas are interlinked is gradually taking the upper hand. Environmental policies have important social impacts and social and welfare policies have environmental impacts and could mitigate the costs of environmental societal transformation.This webinar should provide the forum for an open discussion with the aim of establishing a research agenda on the interrelations of ecological and social policies.


  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.





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