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OSE Newsletter 21 (1) 2015  

   
///
  FOREWORD
  
Will the new European Commission, Parliament and President signal a new era for EU social policymaking? There are a few reasons that warrant a prudently optimistic reading of the new situation. Taken together, the commitment of the new Social Affairs Commissioner (with the ambition to be the ‘visible face’ of social Europe), the new structure of the Commission (with Vice-Presidents and integrated project teams), the reinforcement of the DG EMPL (acquiring several units), the progressive ‘socialization’ of the European Semester, and significant innovations in the new European Structural and Investment Funds may well open a window of opportunity. And yet, there are some good reasons not get carried away: it remains to be seen how Commissioner Thyssen will work towards placing social and employment issues ‘on equal footing’ (and who will be her allies), while an implementation gap is looming for the EU’s crucial ‘Social Investment’ strategy (which is lacking from Juncker’s Investment Plan) and Eurosceptics gained considerable ground, both in the EP and the European Council. In sum: the jury is still out there.

In this new context, we are happy to continue scrutinizing the debate on the new Commission’s social agenda by means of our research, events and publications. Thus, we have started several exciting new research projects, including the European Social Policy Network and work on social indicators for the federal Belgian Social Security administration. New research is also underway on fundamental rights and on social policy innovation (ImPRovE). While the work for EMIN and ProWelfare have been concluded and dissemination activities for NEUJOBS (FP7) are coming to an end, we are now fully prepared for Horizon 2020. 

With the support of an enhanced Board of Directors and the recent recognition of our institute as a ‘scientific institution’ by the Belgian authorities, we confidently continue to provide you with our constructively-critical contribution for a more social EU.

Bart Vanhercke, Director
  
  
 OSE Team
 
OSE recognised as a scientific institution
Following a government decision, the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO)  has recognised the OSE as a ‘scientific institution’, thereby acknowledging the quality of its independent research.
More info... EN | FR 
 
Board of Directors and General Assembly 
We are happy to announce that Marie-Helene Ska, the new Secretary General of the CSC, has been elected as a member of our Board. Laurence Blésin, Director at FEC, joined the OSE’s General Assembly. 
More info... EN | FR 
 
Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. Jos Berghman (CESO, University of Leuven) unexpectedly passed away on 10 October 2014. Jos was a member of the OSE’s Scientific Advisory Board. We miss him dearly and cherish our memories with him.
Obituary notice... EN | FR 
 
  
 
 Projects
  
Analysis and evolution of the social situation in the context of the National Reform Programme 
Ramon Peña-Casas and HIVA (KULeuven) started new research for the Belgian Social Security Administration, with a view to updating the indicators used in the Belgian National Reform Programme. 
More info... EN  
 
  
The Impact of the Crisis on Fundamental Rights across the Member States of the EU

The OSE started new research with Milieu Ltd. Dalila Ghailani is providing the European Parliament with an overview of how austerity measures have affected fundamental rights in selected Member States.
More info... EN  
  
Socializing the European Semester?
Jonathan Zeitlin and Bart Vanhercke wrote a report on behalf of the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies on economic governance and social policy coordination in the European Semester. 
More  info... EN
 

Poverty Reduction in Europe: Social policy and innovation (ImPRovE FP7) 

Sebastianao Sabato is taking the lead on delivering a Discussion Paper on the instruments and resources for implementing the EU framework for Social Innovation in the period 2006-2014.
More  info... EN
  

  
 The OSE in European Networks
  
European Social Policy Network (ESPN) 

CEPS/INSTEAD, APPLICA and the OSE successfully tendered for a bid to manage the ESPN, which covers 35 countries and supports the Commission in monitoring progress towards the EU’s social objectives.
More info... EN
 
 
Comparing (Voluntary) Occupational Welfare in the EU: Evidence from an international research study 

The conclusions of the ProWelfare project, that analysed the emergence of “contract welfare” in eight EU Member States, have been published in an OSE Working paper by David Natali and Emmanuele Pavolini.

More info... OSE Working Paper    ProWelfare Projet
 
European Network on Minimum Income (EMIN): national conferences for consensus building 

Ramón Peña-Casas presented stepping stones towards an EU Roadmap for an adequate minimum income at two EMIN events which aimed at building a national consensus around the topic.

More info...  EN    Slides  
 
Governing the Social Dimension in Canadian Federalism and European Integration

Bart Vanhercke was invited by Amy Verdun to provide keynote contributions in workshops in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa as part of the Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue

More info...  EN    Workshops      Slides  
 
  
 Publications update
  
Health care reforms and the crisis

Furio Stamati and Rita Baeten (2014), ETUI Policy Brief 10/2014 (December)
This Brief assesses the reforms undertaken over the last five years in a selection of EU health systems: reform trends are driven by the interaction of policy legacies and EU agency on national governments’ agendas.

More info... EN  (Full text)
 
The cost-effectiveness of pensions and the role of taxation: an emerging European debate

Dalila Ghailani and David Natali, with Madeleine Schavoir, OSE Research paper No.17, December 2014
This paper sheds light on issues that are key to the European debate on the taxation of pensions: the EU’s socio-economic governance and the need for growth-friendly taxes in a context of economic stagnation.
More info... EN  (Full text)
  
About the baby and the bathwater: assessing the European Platform against Poverty

Sebastiano
Sabato and Bart Vanhercke, ETUI Working Paper 2014.09 (November)
This qualitative assessment of the EPAP argues that a transformed Platform that addresses its weaknesses has the potential to provide strong added value for the EU's toolbox in the fight against poverty.
More info... EN  (Full paper) | EPAP initiative
 

Putting the fight against poverty and social exclusion at the heart of the EU agenda: A contribution to the Mid-Term Review of the Europe 2020 Strategy

Hugh Frazer, Anne-Catherine Guio, Eric Marlier, Bart Vanhercke and Terry Ward. OSE Research Paper No.15, October 2014, 65p.
This OSE paper urges major changes to the Europe 2020 Strategy if it is to meet the ambitious poverty target. It examines the scale of the challenge as well as the underlying problems which need to be tackled.

More info... EN (Full text)
 
Pratiques des CPAS en matière d’intégration sociale des usagers d’origine ou de nationalité étrangères 
Ramon Peña-Casas, Dalila Ghailani and Johan Wets (2014), in Lahaye, W., Pannecoucke, I., Vranken, J. & Van Rossem, R. (Eds.), Pauvreté en Belgique - Annuaire 2014, Gand: Academia Press, pp. 211-226.
The chapter in this yearbook explores the practices of Belgian Public Centres for Social Action in relation to the social integration of first and second-generation migrants as well as the partnerships that are created.

More info... FR | NL 

Insufficient Social Security? About 'Sufficient resources'
Denis Bouget (2014), in van Oorschot, W., Peeters, H., Boos, K., Invisible Social Security Revisited, Essays in Honour of Jos Berghman, Leuven, Lannoo Publishers, pp. 177-190.
The chapter analyses the expression "sufficient resources" in European official texts as well as its possible doctrinal foundation: the philosophical concept in ethics, "sufficientarianism".

More info... EN (Lannoo Website) 
 
Reassessing Southern European Pensions after the Crisis: Evidence from Two Decades of Reforms
David Natali, Furio Stamati (2014), South European Society and Politics, vol.19, n.3.
This article studies pension reforms in Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain since 1990. Common trends were multipillarisation, scheme harmonisation, and cost containment, under increasing influence from the EU. 

More info... EN  (Full text)
 
Altered Europeanisation of pension reform during the Great Recession: Denmark & Italy compared 
Caroline De la Porte and David Natali (2014), West European Politics, vol. 37, no. 4, 732-749. 
Through a ‘Europeanisation’ analytical approach, this article demonstrates how the 2011 pension reforms in Denmark and Italy have been shaped by the renewed EU economic governance.

More info... EN
 
Cross-border patient mobility in the EU: in search of benefits from the new legal framework
Rita Baeten (2014) Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, Vol. 19, No.4, pp. 195-197.
This article questions the added value for patients seeking reimbursement for care received in another Member State through the EU Directive21on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. 

More info... EN
 
Dream vs. reality: seven case-studies on the desirability and feasibility of cross-border hospital collaboration in Europe
Irene Glinos and Rita Baeten (2014) Social Science & Medicine, pp. 18-24.
The authors argue that while the EU plays a prominent role in some border-region initiatives, it is questionable whether cross-border hospital collaboration can effectively be promoted.

More info... EN  (Elsevier website)
  
A Model for Implementing Sustainable and Qualitative Growth in the EU 
Sebastiano Sabato, David Natali and Cécile Barbier (2014), Martens Centre for European Studies
This Research paper examines the state of EU economic and social governance and puts forward key policy proposals that could contribute to an alternative path for sustainable and qualitative growth in the EU.

More info... EN
 
A European Social Union. 10 Tough Nuts to Crack
Frank Vandenbroucke, with Bart Vanhercke (2014), Background report for the Friends of Europe High-Level Group on 'Social Union', Brussels: Friends of Europe, 158 p.
The report provides a comprehensive survey of the development of the social dimension in European cooperation, and defines ten key questions that have to be tackled with a view to developing a ‘Social Union’.

More info... EN (Full text)
 
An OMC for All Policies: Is Belgium (still) the Best Pupil in the Class? 
Bart Vanhercke (2014), in Barcevicius, E., Weishaupt, T. and Zeitlin, J., Assessing the Open Method of Coordination: Institutional Design and National Influence of EU Social Policy Coordination, Palgrave. 
While the Social OMC has by no means been shaking domestic social policymaking, the author argues that it has impacted on policymaking, while the use of OMC instruments has spilled over into other policy areas.

More info... EN 
 
Governing the Social Dimension in Canadian Federalism and European Integration 
Amy Verdun and Donna E. Wood (University of Victoria), OSE Paper Series, Research Paper No.14, 22p. 
In Canada and the EU, social policy is the responsibility of the constituent units. This paper (presented at an OSE Lunchtime Session) examines whether Canada can learn from how the EU coordinates such policies.

More info... PDF (Full text)     OSE Paper Series
 
Intergenerational Justice and Public Policy in Europe 
Pieter Vanhuysse (2014), OSE Opinion Paper No.16, 17p.
Population ageing right across the advanced welfare states has led to a renewed popular awareness of the notion of justice between the generations. This paper reports on the Intergenerational Justice Index.

More info... EN
 
Europa 2020 e la lotta alla povertà: obiettivi ‘hard’, processi ‘soft’, governance in fieri 
Matteo Jessoula, Chiara Agostini and Sebastiano Sabato (2014), Politiche Sociali, no.1/2014, pp. 101-11813 jan
This article (in Italian) assesses to what extent the EU tool-kit is efficient in promoting the emergence of an effective multilevel and multi-stakeholder policy arena to combat 
poverty and social exclusion. 

More info... IT
 
European Health Care News
No.31 (January 2015) is now available in English, French and Dutch: it provides an overview of EU-level developments relevant to national health care systems, with links to official documents, policy developments and CJEU case law. Subscription is free. 

More info...  English  | French | Dutch
 
 
  
 Past events
  
After-Work Seminar, Brussels (13 January 2015)
Economic Crisis and Austerity in Southern Europe: Threat or Opportunity for building a Sustainable Welfare State?

with Ana-Marta Guillèn, Maria Petmesidou, Markus Marterbauer and Dino Pinelli.

More info... EN  (slides and documents)
 
NEUJOBS (FP7) Project
Green, pink and white: Can Europe still create jobs?

The NEUJOBS Final Conference was held on 1-2 December 2014. Watch the short video of this event and consult the most recent NEUJOBS publication.

More info... Video      Neujobs publications
 
OSE-ETUI Seminar (17 September 2014)
Sur l'histoire de l'Europe et ses leçons pour le future 

Robert Salais (IDHES) discussed the origins of the EU (marked by the failure of a political community) as well as the paths that could have been followed if Europe had not imprisoned itself in the market. 

More info... FR  (background documents)
 
 
NEUJOBS Conference (15 September 2014) 
Ageing Society in Europe and the UK: Employment and Policy Challenges

This NEUJOBS (FP7) conference, organised in collaboration with the LSE, provided an opportunity to debate strategies for dealing with the consequences of ageing on employment, labour demand and supply. 

More info... EN  (slides and background documents)
 
 
Let’s get to Work! The Future of Labour in Europe

This event launched an edited volume prepared in the context of the NEUJOBS FP7 project. The key findings were discussed at a widely-attended conference. Watch the short video of the event.

More info... EN  (video, book, slides and background documents)
 
 
Innovation and Employment: cornerstones of the energy transition

This NEUJOBS (FP7) conference gathered different views from stakeholders on energy transition, and was organised by the OSE, SEURECO and the Conseil Français de l’Energie.

More info... EN  (slides)
 
 
  
 Activities
 
Towards a ‘European Social Union’
Bart Vanhercke explained why investing in human capital is a milestone towards a ‘European Social Union’ during the STEPS Cluster final event, as well as on the occasion of EAPN’s Annual Conference. He acted as discussant on the same topic during Policy Network/Solidar and Euroforum Seminars.
More info... Slides    Euroforum Policy Papers  
 
European Semester's increased target on healthcare reform 

At EPHA’s 5th annual
conference, Rita Baeten provided a critical analysis of the EU’s economic surveillance of health systems, as she has done earlier during a seminar organised by Confrontations Europe.
Interview with Rita Baeten: Video    Slides 
 
 
Minimum Income, fight against poverty and actors’ mobilisation

Sebastiano Sabato presented a paper on “Europe 2020 and the strategy for combating poverty and social exclusion” at
ECPR, and on a European minimum income guarantee at ESPANET. He was a rapporteur at the 4th AGORA forum
More info... Europe2020 Slides     European minimum income Slides
  
The New European Commission

Bart Vanhercke was interviewed on radio RTBF on the occasion of the assignment of the Employment and Social Affairs Portfolio to Commissioner Marianne Thyssen.
More info... Podcast (MP3)
 
 
Freedom from American domination and European budgetary constraints 
Cécile Barbier expressed her ideas on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of IPSE and argued that we need analysis that goes beyond the European framework in Europolitics. 
More info... Dossier IPSE (FR-EN)   Interview EUROPOLITICS (FR-EN)
  
 
 Reviews for You
 
We reviewed several books: ‘Reconciling Work and Poverty Reduction’ (B. Cantillon and F. Vandenbroucke,
OUP), ‘L'égalité au nom du marché?' (S. Jacquot, Peter Lang), 'Assessing the Open Method of Coordination' (E. Barcevicius et al. Palgrave) and 'Invisible Social Security Revisited' (W. van Oorschot, Lannoo).

More info...  Reviews
 
  

 In the spotlight

OSE Video reports
The OSE has started to produce video reports of its key events. Get a taste of the NEUJOBS, Prowelfare and Social Developments in the EU conferences, as if you were there:
Neujobs Final Conference video  | Conference-debate Social developments video  | Neujobs Book Launch video  | ProWelfare Final Conference video 

 
Bart Vanhercke, Editor-in-chief / Renaud Smoes, Newsletter Graphics

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