Selected Readings





Integrating the European Pillar of Social Rights into the roadmap for deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union
4 July 2019, 3-6 PM, EESC, Brussels
Event organised by the Workers' Group (II) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the OSE.
Confirmed speakers include: László Andor (FEPS), Liina Carr (ETUC), Cosmin Dobran (SECGEN), Jeroen Jutte (DG EMPL), Karl Pichelmann (DG ECFIN), Kelig Puyet (Social Platform), Oliver Röpke (Worker’s Group, EESC) and Frank Vandenbroucke (University of Amsterdam)
This conference will explore, amongst other, the potential of creating a “Social Imbalances Procedure”.


  ESPN Synthesis Report

In-work poverty in Europe: a study of national policies
Peña-Casas R., Ghailani D., Spasova S. and Vanhercke B. (2019)
Based on the in-depth national contributions prepared by 35 Country Teams and an analysis of EU indicators on in-work poverty (IWP), this
ESPN report finds, amongst others, that (a) the IWP represent a substantial group among workers and their numbers continue to grow in many European countries, leading to a polarisation within the EU; (b) in certain categories of the population IWP is significantly higher and has in some cases been increasing significantly in recent years; (c) most of the countries accelerated the pace of related policy reforms between 2015 and 2018. This report puts forward several recommendations and calls for more effective policy action at European and national levels.


  OSE Opinion Paper

European Unemployment Insurance? A more modest approach in the short term, more ambition in the long term
Günther Schmid, 2019
This working paper argues that the concept of European Unemployment Insurance needs to be fundamentally revised, since modern labour market policy has to cover not only income risks related to unemployment, but also other serious income risks related to critical transitions over the life course. Günther Schmid proposes an enhancement and extension of the existing European Social Fund, to create a European Employment and Social Fund, with elements of a genuine European employment insurance as well as a reinsurance mechanism for asymmetric shock absorption. The pros and cons of these alternatives are discussed.


  New Publication

À la recherche de l'Europe sociale
Philippe Pochet, 2019
Le projet européen est en crise. Pourtant, depuis le traité de Rome de 1957, l’intégration étroite des États membres a toujours été une priorité de l’Union européenne. Une intégration économique au détriment du volet social du projet européen. Face à la fracture européenne actuelle, un débat nouveau et décisif s’engage, ouvert sur l’avenir. Philippe Pochet - ancien directeur à l’Observatoire social européen - plaide en faveur d’une dynamique socio-écologique européenne qui prendrait en compte problématiques du passé et enjeux du futur.



Integrating the European Pillar of Social Rights into the roadmap for deepening Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union 
This study for the Workers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee explores three policy instruments to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights. First, Member States should put their money where their mouth is and “socialise” the EU budget. Second, the report argues in favour of an “equivalent” European Unemployment Benefit Scheme. Thirdly, it proposes to launch a “Social Imbalances Procedure” (SImP), which would involve identifying national social imbalances, multi-annual action plans, conditional financial support and monitoring of implementation.


  Lunch debate 18/03/2019

Eco-social policies in the European Union
OSE and ETUI invite you to a lunch debate with policymakers about the 19th edition of their flagship book "Social policies in the European Union: state of play 2018", focused on key issues such as sustainable welfare, degrowth and the distributional and labour market effects of climate policies. The event will be hosted by Philippe Lamberts (co-Chair of the Greens/EFA). Confirmed speakers: Milena Buchs (University of Leeds), Béla Galgóczi (ETUI), Sebastiano Sabato and Bart Vanhercke (OSE), Claudia Hahn (EC) and Georg Zachmann (Bruegel).



  Long-term care

Challenges in long-term care in Europe
Spasova, S., Baeten, R. and Vanhercke, B. (2018) Eurohealth Vol.24 No.4 2018, Brussels: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
This brief article describes the national provision of long-term care (LTC) in 35 European countries, with a focus on arrangements for older people. It points to the four main challenges common to all countries: 1) access and adequacy of LTC provision, 2) quality of formal home care as well as residential services, 3) employment of informal carers, and 4) financial sustainability of the national systems.



  Conférence Bilan 2018 / Nantes

Bilan social de l’Union européenne 2018 : La politique sociale de l’Union européenne est-elle condamnée à demeurer embryonnaire ? 
L’Observatoire social européen (OSE) et l’Institut syndical européen (ETUI) présentent à la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme de Nantes le bilan social de l’Union européenne qu’ils réalisent chaque année. 
Que fait l’Union européenne dans le domaine social ? Ou que ne fait-elle pas ? Ou que devrait-elle faire ?
Voici l'occasion de faire le point dans un contexte social particulièrement tendu.

 8 January  2019

  Key publication

Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2018 
The European Social Observatory and the European Trade Union Institute just published the 19th edition of their flagship publication. The book examines the impact of the Pillar’s new ‘rights-based social investment approach’ while also questioning if the Pillar could encourage a fully-fledged ‘European Social Union’.  This volume looks also at social protection of the self-employed, recent progress in occupational health and the impact of the digital transition on job quality.


Free download

  New ESPN report

Inequalities in access to healthcare. A study of national policies
Rita Baeten, Slavina Spasova, Bart Vanhercke and Stéphanie Coster
This new Synthesis Report by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) describes the main features of health systems enabling access to healthcare. It identifies the key challenges in inequalities in access to healthcare in 35 European countries. Despite a general trend towards improved access, inequalities persist in many countries. The report discusses the impact of health system financing, health coverage and healthcare provision on access to healthcare and analyses the differences in access between population groups. It identifies national reforms and puts forward a number of policy recommendations.


+ 35 Country reports

  New ETUI Policy Brief

The ‘generosity’ of pensions for workers in hard jobs: in need of a nuanced debate
Slavina Spasova and Bart Vanhercke
This policy brief examines issues surrounding recent cuts in pensions provision for workers in arduous and hazardous jobs (WAHJ). Such workers have historically enjoyed better provision because of the strong possibility of them having to take early retirement, but historic arrangements are now under threat. The policy brief presents some data on the working conditions and pensions patterns of WAHJ and provides some policy suggestions for their trade union representatives.




Social investment in long-term care – 30/10/2018 – Brussels

How can the EU deliver affordable long-term care of good quality as its working-age population shrinks and the share of those of retirement age expands? The SPRINT consortium is inviting policy makers, researchers, care providers and other key stakeholders to discuss the challenges associated with the application of the concept of social investment to the provision and resourcing of long-term care.


  Roundtable discussion

Nordic social partners and the European Semester: what kind of engagement and why (not)?
Researchers, national and European stakeholders and policymakers will identify the opportunities that arise for national social partners from ‘having a say’ in the European Semester. In the framework of the Commission-funded INVOTUNES project involving eight EU Member States, leading scholars will shed light on the recent developments in Sweden and Finland. They will identify both risks and opportunities for social partners’ involvement in labour market, wage setting as well as social protection and social inclusion policies within the Semester.

Uppsala (Sweden)


  New ESPN report

Challenges in long-term care in Europe. A study of national policies
This report describes the national long-term care provisions in 35 European countries, with a focus on arrangements for the elderly. It analyses the four main challenges common to all countries: access and adequacy of long-term care provision, quality of formal home care as well as residential services, employment of informal carers and financial sustainability of national systems. All countries covered will continue to face significant long-term care system challenges: the report makes a series of recommendations to help overcome them.


  Key publication

Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights: what is needed to guarantee a positive social impact
This new study on behalf of the Workers’ Group of the EESC concludes that the Pillar relaunched an ambitious EU ‘Social Agenda’ and has already influenced the 2018 European Semester cycle. However, doubts remain as to whether it can influence EU macro-economic and fiscal policies. National trade unions are doubtful that they will be involved in putting its principles into practice. Effective implementation requires that the Pillar be given adequate financial resources and clearly defined governance tools through an ambitious roadmap.



  New research

National trade union involvement in the European Semester - INVOTUNES
The OSE was awarded new Commission-funded research, involving a partnership between universities, trade union-related research institutes and independent research centres as well as the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). At the core of the project are eight country case studies (BE, BG, FI, DE, HU, IT, PT and SE). The project will lead to concrete recommendations for national trade unions with a view to ensuring effective and quality involvement in the Semester.






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