Selected Readings


  Roundtable Discussion - 31 August 2016

Occupational Welfare Trends in Austria and Germany: Focus on Pensions

PROWELFARE researchers as well as national and European stakeholders and policymakers discuss the contribution of social dialogue to welfare state developments in EU Member States. The Roundtable addresses the divergent trajectories of occupational pensions in Austria and Germany.


Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives in Europe. A study of national policies.
Bouget D., Spasova S. and Vanhercke B. (2016)

This new European Social Policiy Network (ESPN) report is concerned with some of the key questions that arise regarding (a) the work-life balance of working-age people - mostly women - who care for disabled and chronically ill dependent relatives; (b) facilitating the employment of carers; and (c) maintaining the well-being of the carers and their families. The Synthesis Report demonstrates the diversity of policy approaches in Europe regarding work-life balance, which remains a complex and problematic issue rarely recognised as such.



  OSE Lunchtime Session

Combating Poverty in Europe: Active inclusion and the European Pillar of Social Rights

Drawing on comparative analyses about social policy design, institutional frameworks and delivery practices, this seminar (20 June 2016) with Bjørn Hvinden (NOVA) and Freek Spinnewijn (FEANTSA) discussed methods to effectively combat poverty and social exclusion, in view of the ongoing consultation about the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Brexit debate.

  OSE-ETUI Joint Workshop

Constructing social policy indicators

The OSE and ETUI are organising a ‘by invitation only’ workshop
(22 June 2016) which aims at equipping the research institutes with both the theoretical and practical aspects of constructing social policy indicators. Keynote speakers: Tom Bevers (EMCO Chair), Rudi Van Dam (Indicators Subgroup/SPC Chair) and Olivier Bontout (DG EMPL).

  New research

Policies for an Aged Workforce in the EU (PAWEU)

In spite of the current strong emphasis in all EU countries on means to tackle youth unemployment, the participation of older individuals in the labour market remains a significant policy challenge too. The OSE hence engaged in a new EU- funded project on ‘Policies for an Aged Workforce in the EU’, together with the Fondazione G. Brodolini, the Italian Social Security Institute (INPS) and the Romanian Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly People (MoLFSPE).

  Occupational Welfare : Country studies

The nine country studies that have been produced in the context of the EU-funded PROWELFARE project have now been published in the OSE Working Paper Series. These reports show the growing importance and uneven spread of ‘occupational welfare’ in AT, BE, DE, IT, NL, ES, SE, PL and UK.


  New ESPN Flash reports

Ageing, residential childcare, housing costs and tax debts

Four new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have been published, providing information on the ageing population in France, childcare reforms in Lithuania, a new rent subsidy in Luxembourg and draft regulations in Portugal to protect families from losing their homes.

  New Research

Social Policy in the EU: state of play 2016

The OSE was contracted by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) to analyse the EU’s recent institutional dynamics, while looking into such varied fields of enquiry as the immigration crisis, long-term unemployment, occupational health and safety and fundamental rights.


 the 2015 edition

  Rountable Discussion

Welfare State and Industrial Relations in Poland and the EU

This public Roundtable discussion (Warsaw, 6th May 2016) represents a key opportunity to discuss the contribution of social dialogue to the development of ‘contract welfare’ in Poland and the rest of the European Union.

  Social Open Method of Coordination

OSE Director Bart Vanhercke was awarded the doctoral degree (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam for his PhD on ‘Inside the Social Open Method of Coordination. The Hard Politics of ‘Soft’ Governance’.
Chapters | Executive summary (PDF, EN - NL)


Inside the black box: The EU's economic surveillance of national healthcare systems
Baeten, R. and Vanhercke, B. (2016)
Comparative European Politics, 21 March 2016

This article outlines the complex policy architecture of the EU’s role in the economic surveillance of national healthcare systems. It illustrates how the Eurozone crisis created a policy ‘window of opportunity’ to push through fiscal surveillance of health systems as part of the solution to the crisis.



The usage of EU resources in local social innovation
Sebastiano Sabato and Gert Verschraegen (2016)
ImPRovE Working Paper No. 16/03.

This working paper investigates how and with what consequences resources for promoting social innovation provided by the European Union have been used in local socially innovative projects implemented in five Member States.


the Paper


  In the media

Europe: increasingly divergent social and economic performances

The director of the European Social Observatory, Bart Vanhercke, is interviewed by RTBF’s Sandro Calderon for the 21st January edition of
Soir Première. They discuss the record, in terms of social developments, of the European Commission and of its Commissioner for employment and social affairs, Marianne Thyssen.

Read the 

(In French)


Policies for Gender Balance in the European Parliament after the 2014 Elections
Katie McCracken, Dalila Ghailani, et al.

Upon request by the FEMM Committee (European Parliament), this study explores the results of the 2014 European Parliament elections in terms of gender balance of MEPs. The study uses case studies and statistical analyses of the election results to establish the main barriers to women being elected. The study presents recommendations for improving gender balance in the EP.




Health systems and EU law and policy
The state of the art and direction of travel
Conference, 28 January 2016, NIDHI - Brussels

The EU’s involvement in health systems has been steadily expanding for over 20 years. Key events include the Patients’ Rights Directive and increased interest in the cost-effectiveness of European health systems. The potential impact of international trade agreements on health systems is also subject to intense debate. This conference seeks to understand these developments and discuss their policy implications.


 Programme and practical information: Conference website

  EPSU research

The European Semester and modernisation of public administration
Final Report and OSE Briefing Paper
Ramón Peña-Casas, Sebastiano Sabato, Valentina Lisi, Chiara Agostini (OSE)
EPSU social dialogue project, December 2015

These publications assess the impact of the European Semester on the modernization of public administration and European social dialogue. They acknowledge the reform effort in conditions of budgetary austerity across the EU and provide recommendations to increase trade union involvement in the European Semester.

 Final Report
Briefing Paper


Further Socializing the European Semester: Moving Forward for a ‘Social Triple A’?
Bart Vanhercke and Jonathan Zeitlin with Astrid Zwinkels
Report, December 2015, 36p.

This Report produced for the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union focuses on the social dimension of the European Semester. It reviews developments in the 2015 European Semester and provides recommendations about ways of further strengthening its social dimension, including as regards broader social stakeholder participation. It also discusses recent more ambitious proposals for restructuring the European Semester.



  Key publication

Social Policy in the European Union: State of Play 2015

The European Social Observatory and the European Trade Union Institute just published the 16th edition of their flagship publication. It provides easily accessible information about recent developments as well as a more analytical reading and a forward-looking perspective for stakeholders and policymakers alike.




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