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Measuring social progress in EU regions

01-10-2018

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (the European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU's social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help ...

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (the European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU's social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help present a more comprehensive picture of the state of European societies. The EU regional Social Progress Index provides an overview of aspects including health, access to education, environmental quality, housing, personal rights and inclusion. The 2016 findings give a mixed picture of social progress across EU regions. Generally, Nordic and Dutch regions figure among the top performers, with southern and eastern regions lagging behind. However, the picture becomes more nuanced when specific dimensions of social progress are taken into account. The index also shows that social progress scores do not always correlate with a region's GDP. Improving social progress is also relevant to EU cohesion policy, one of the goals of which is to achieve social, economic and territorial cohesion, while also reducing regional disparities. Regional investments can therefore be geared to support both economic performance and social progress. The role and application of new indicators and indexes in this process is currently being explored with a view to establishing how they can be used in policy to support real change, for instance by monitoring developments, identifying priorities, and evaluating progress. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in November 2017.

Poverty, gender and life cycle: Portraits of poverty in the European Union

30-11-2017

Nearly a quarter of the population in the European Union (23.8 %) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2015. Living conditions, the degree of insecurity and the routes into and out of poverty vary according to age and gender, as well as varying over the course of a lifetime. Children are the most affected population in Europe today, while young people aged between 18 and 24 now represent 10% of those at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. There is little difference between the ...

Nearly a quarter of the population in the European Union (23.8 %) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2015. Living conditions, the degree of insecurity and the routes into and out of poverty vary according to age and gender, as well as varying over the course of a lifetime. Children are the most affected population in Europe today, while young people aged between 18 and 24 now represent 10% of those at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. There is little difference between the sexes at this age, but it is a key difference among older people. The mid-life period is characterised by substantial variations based on gender, family circumstances and/or professional status. Women, single-parent families, large families or low-income workers are, at this point in their lives, more at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Lastly, older people are now simultaneously the least affected by poverty on average, and also among the most vulnerable, in the case of women.

NEETs: who are they? Being young and not in employment, education or training today

23-03-2017

'NEET' is an acronym used to refer to young people who are not in education, employment or training. The expression, which first emerged in the mid-90s in the United Kingdom, has been eagerly adopted by the media, policy makers and researchers due to its usefulness in describing the disproportionate effects of the economic crisis on the education, training and employability of young Europeans and, in the long term, on their social inclusion. In 2015 in the European Union, 12 % of 15- to 24-year-olds ...

'NEET' is an acronym used to refer to young people who are not in education, employment or training. The expression, which first emerged in the mid-90s in the United Kingdom, has been eagerly adopted by the media, policy makers and researchers due to its usefulness in describing the disproportionate effects of the economic crisis on the education, training and employability of young Europeans and, in the long term, on their social inclusion. In 2015 in the European Union, 12 % of 15- to 24-year-olds (6.6 million people) were not in a job, training or an internship. If we include young people up to the age of 29, the number of NEETs increases to almost 14 million, or 14.8 % of that age group. This social group is highly diverse, including short- and long-term unemployed people, young people in transition, young people with family responsibilities and people with disabilities or medical conditions. Statistically, young women are over-represented and the probability of being a NEET increases with age; that figure is also inversely proportional to the level of education reached and varies widely from one Member State to another. In response to the worsening of the NEET situation following the crisis, the European Commission drew up an EU Youth Strategy for the 2010-2018 period, whilst the European Parliament defended the NEET cause. The Youth Guarantee scheme created as a result is the European Union's key measure to provide support to NEETs.

The Collaborative Economy: Socioeconomic, Regulatory and Labor Issues

16-01-2017

This briefing provides a discussion of economic, regulatory, labor and social issues related to the sharing economy (collaborative economy). It provides a definition for the collaborative economy, placing it in the context of a range of past and current definitions, and proposing a new term, “crowd-based capitalism,” as a term that unifies changes across different industries. It outlines how this new form of commercial exchange blurs the lines between personal and commercial, elevating the importance ...

This briefing provides a discussion of economic, regulatory, labor and social issues related to the sharing economy (collaborative economy). It provides a definition for the collaborative economy, placing it in the context of a range of past and current definitions, and proposing a new term, “crowd-based capitalism,” as a term that unifies changes across different industries. It outlines how this new form of commercial exchange blurs the lines between personal and commercial, elevating the importance of social factors in creating commercial trust. It reflects on how the economic returns from the sharing economy may be repartitioned across social actors, and the promise of lower economic inequality. It outlines new approaches to regulating the sharing economy, the necessity of carefully designed self-regulatory mechanisms, the promise of data-driven delegation, and a set of principles to draw the right lines between the government and the platforms. It concludes with a summary of the state of the independent workforce and outlines approaches for creating a new social contract as society shifts away from employment and towards freelance work. This document was prepared by Professor Arun Sundararajan at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

Zunanji avtor

Arun SUNDARARAJAN

How families have coped with the financial crisis

14-10-2016

Families in the European Union (EU) were hit hard by the financial and economic crisis of 2008, which, together with its after-effects, also triggered a social crisis. If measureable changes in family patterns and the breakdown of families may not be immediately observable and directly related to the downturn, the knock-on effects of the economic and financial crisis on families are far more apparent. Throughout the EU, single-parent families (16 % of all families) are exposed to the highest risk ...

Families in the European Union (EU) were hit hard by the financial and economic crisis of 2008, which, together with its after-effects, also triggered a social crisis. If measureable changes in family patterns and the breakdown of families may not be immediately observable and directly related to the downturn, the knock-on effects of the economic and financial crisis on families are far more apparent. Throughout the EU, single-parent families (16 % of all families) are exposed to the highest risk of poverty or social exclusion. Single-parent families are predominantly composed of single mothers, who face a higher poverty risk than single fathers. The adverse impact of the economic crisis on families placed children at greater risk of poverty or social exclusion than the rest of the population in 23 of the 28 EU Member States in 2014. In the same year, there were 27.4 million children under the age of 18 living at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU. Two drivers have played a growing part in the rise of families' difficulties in the EU since the onset of the recession: a cyclical one – the economic crisis and the strain it put on family-supportive policies – and a structural one – the reinforcement of the phenomenon of inherited poverty. Therefore, even if family policies fall within the responsibility of the Member States, the condition of families has become a policy concern for European institutions.

Elderly people and poverty: Current levels and changes since the crisis

06-07-2016

Measuring poverty is complex and a number of indicators are now used to try to give a comprehensive picture. A composite measure – 'at risk of poverty or social exclusion' (AROPE) – is used today to measure progress on the Europe 2020 anti-poverty target. In general, poverty for those aged 65 or older (65+) in the European Union significantly reduced between 2007 and 2014, in contrast to increases in poverty for people aged under 65. Those aged 65+ now have a significantly lower rate of being AROPE ...

Measuring poverty is complex and a number of indicators are now used to try to give a comprehensive picture. A composite measure – 'at risk of poverty or social exclusion' (AROPE) – is used today to measure progress on the Europe 2020 anti-poverty target. In general, poverty for those aged 65 or older (65+) in the European Union significantly reduced between 2007 and 2014, in contrast to increases in poverty for people aged under 65. Those aged 65+ now have a significantly lower rate of being AROPE than younger people (17.8% vs. 25.9% for the EU-28 in 2014). The same applies when looking only at rates of 'severe material deprivation' (a component of the AROPE measure, but one not affected by changes to incomes of people under 65). This shows improvements for those aged 65+ and worsening for under-65 year olds. Those aged 65+ are less at risk of severe material deprivation than younger people (6.2% vs 9.5%, EU-28, 2014). These broad results mask differences between individual Member States, with varying age 65+ poverty levels and improvements seen. Some saw age 65+ poverty increase according to at least one indicator, but increases were generally small, from a low base and not associated with countries particularly hard hit by the crisis. Women aged 65+ have consistently higher AROPE rates (and other poverty indicators) then men across the Member States, though the gap has narrowed somewhat. Women's 65+ AROPE rates reflect their: lower pay and shorter and more interrupted working lives leading to lower pensions (38% lower on average in the European Union according to the Commission's 2015 Pension Adequacy Report); longer lives (and retirements); and increased likelihood of being in a single-person household. People aged 75+ also have higher AROPE rates than those aged 65-74, though the gap has narrowed since 2007.

Undeclared work in the EU

28-01-2016

Undeclared work represents a large share of the shadow economy, which also includes illegal economic activities that circumvent government regulations. The European Commission defines undeclared work as any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature but not declared to public authorities. Obtaining reliable estimates of the share of undeclared work in an economy is, by the non-registered nature of the phenomenon, very difficult. Informal employment, or employees without contracts, was ...

Undeclared work represents a large share of the shadow economy, which also includes illegal economic activities that circumvent government regulations. The European Commission defines undeclared work as any paid activities that are lawful as regards their nature but not declared to public authorities. Obtaining reliable estimates of the share of undeclared work in an economy is, by the non-registered nature of the phenomenon, very difficult. Informal employment, or employees without contracts, was found to account for one in six employed persons in Europe in the European Social Surveys of 2008-2009. The estimates of undeclared work across Member States as measured by the European Observatory Review are presented in the map below, along with the estimated evolution of the size of the shadow economy in the period between 2003 and 2013. The European Commission has proposed the creation of a European Platform to enhance cooperation in tackling undeclared work. See our ‘Legislation in Progress’ briefing for more information.

Preventing and Countering Youth Radicalisation in the EU

15-04-2014

Upon request by the LIBE Committee, this study focuses on the question of how to best prevent youth radicalisation in the EU. It evaluates counter-radicalisation policies, both in terms of their efficiency and their broader social and political impact. Building on a conception of radicalisation as a process of escalation, it highlights the need to take into account the relation between individuals, groups and state responses. In this light, it forefronts some of the shortcomings of current policies ...

Upon request by the LIBE Committee, this study focuses on the question of how to best prevent youth radicalisation in the EU. It evaluates counter-radicalisation policies, both in terms of their efficiency and their broader social and political impact. Building on a conception of radicalisation as a process of escalation, it highlights the need to take into account the relation between individuals, groups and state responses. In this light, it forefronts some of the shortcomings of current policies, such as the difficulties of reporting individuals on the grounds of uncertain assessments of danger and the problem of attributing political grievances to ethnic and religious specificities. Finally, the study highlights the ambiguous nature of pro-active administrative practices and exceptional counter-terrorism legislation and their potentially damaging effects in terms of fundamental rights.

Zunanji avtor

Didier BIGO (CCLS – King’s College, United-Kingdom), Laurent BONELLI (CCLS – University of Nanterre, Paris X, France), Emmanuel-Pierre GUITTET (CCLS – University of Manchester, United-Kingdom) and Francesco RAGAZZI (CCLS – University of Leiden, Netherlands)

Proceedings of the Workshop on "The Euromed Region after the Arab Spring and the New Generation of DCFTAs"

22-01-2014

Proceedings of the workshop on "The Euromed region after the Arab Spring and the new generation of DCFTAs", held on 18 June 2013 in Brussels. The present document is the compilation of the background notes and Power Point presentations prepared by the experts invited.

Proceedings of the workshop on "The Euromed region after the Arab Spring and the new generation of DCFTAs", held on 18 June 2013 in Brussels. The present document is the compilation of the background notes and Power Point presentations prepared by the experts invited.

Zunanji avtor

Ahmed Farouk GHONEIM (Faculty of Economics & Political Science, Cairo University, Egypt) and Erwan LANNON (College of Europe and Ghent University, Belgium)

Sociological Study on the Composition of the Belarusian Society

11-05-2012

For failure of complying with democratic standards, since 1997 Belarus has been (self-) isolated from European integration dynamics. Save for a short-lived 'thaw' with the West in 2008-2010, when Alexander Lukashenka’s regime was seeking to compensate for its degraded relations with Moscow, Belarus has been the target of EU sanctions. Yet the country remains apparently impermeable to democratisation and Europeanisation alike. A 'reluctant partner' in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, Belarus is also ...

For failure of complying with democratic standards, since 1997 Belarus has been (self-) isolated from European integration dynamics. Save for a short-lived 'thaw' with the West in 2008-2010, when Alexander Lukashenka’s regime was seeking to compensate for its degraded relations with Moscow, Belarus has been the target of EU sanctions. Yet the country remains apparently impermeable to democratisation and Europeanisation alike. A 'reluctant partner' in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, Belarus is also the cornerstone of Russia’s Eurasian Union project. In late 2011 Russia’s renewed subsidising of Belarus virtually saved the country from economic collapse. In energising its own integration offer along the Eurasian vector, Moscow offers official Minsk a cooperation prospect void of democratic conditionality which is more attractive than the EU’s could ever be. Do Lukashenka’s geopolitical preferences reflect the aspiration of the Belarusian people however? Building on the results of independent sociological surveys, this study tries to assess the worldviews, social needs and dividing lines among Belarusian society ahead of the 2012 legislative elections. It critically reviews the EU’s 'dual track' policy and instruments and calls for adopting a new strategy to draw the country closer to the EU while circumventing its authoritarian leadership. Exploring the potential of 'third track' diplomacy – towards a real, pragmatic partnership with Belarus as a country – this study advocates a more inclusive approach of neighbourhood relations, allowing for mutually beneficial cooperation for the sake of modernising and hopefully democratising Belarus.

Zunanji avtor

Anaïs Marin (Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki, Finland)

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Where next for Europe’s economy? 2019 IMF Regional Economic Outlook
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