Social policy think-tanks

OSE amidst top 100 social policy think-tanks
The OSE has been ranked, for the fifth consecutive time among the ‘Top 100 social policy think-tanks’ worldwide by the Think-Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the University of Pennsylvania. The think-tanks in this category are considered ‘leading social policy institutions of the global community’ that provide ‘superior innovative research and strategic analyses’ and ‘excel in research, analysis and public engagement’, more particularly ‘with the aim of advancing debate and facilitating cooperation between relevant actors’.


  ETUI podcast

EU social policy: state of play
Bart Vanhercke, echoing the arguments of the recent book ‘Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2020’ expresses concern about the sidelining of 'social actors', the EU's lack of commitment to gender issues, the inadequate response to the rise in in-work poverty and the development of a new social-ecological contract. This is despite an unprecedented coordinated economic response from Member States and the European Commission, in stark contrast to the austerity-driven response to the 2008 crisis.

  New report

Non-standard workers and the self-employed in the EU: social protection during the Covid-19 pandemic
Spasova S., Ghailani D., Sabato S., Coster S., Fronteddu B.,Vanhercke B. (2021)
The purpose of this study is to map the measures related to unemployment benefits, sick pay and sickness benefits, and special leave arrangements introduced by the EU Member States during the Covid-19 pandemic. The specific focus is on non-standard workers and the self-employed, as well as on the gender dimension.

Free download

  College of Europe

Is the ‘European social model’ a reality or an elusive concept?
Bart Vanhercke has been appointed as Visiting professor at the College of Europe, a postgraduate institute of European studies. During this academic year, he will be teaching a course on ‘The Social Dimension of European Integration’ to an interdisciplinary group of students from across Europe. The course addresses the interaction between EU economic and social policies as well as the variety of EU social policy instruments. It will ultimately ask this question: is the ‘European social model’ a reality or an elusive concept?


Social policy in the EU 2020: three launch events
To mark the publication of the "Social Developments in the European Union 2020", the OSE and the ETUI organised three webinars to discuss the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU's social policy perspectives in different policy areas and the overall EU policy strategy. The video recordings of these webinars, which brought together researchers, policy-makers and actors from trade unions and civil society, are available online.

  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. 

More info (download/

  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.

  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)

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