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.

  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.

  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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