OSE started new research for the European Trade Union Institute aimed at developing a critical assessment of the welfare reforms adopted by the Member States in the wake of the economic and fiscal crisis. The research project embraces a larger set of policies: labour market policies, social policies (pensions), education, R&D, and public sector reforms. Some of these areas are typical examples of the so-called ‘structural reforms’ supported by international organisations and the EU.

The OSE was awarded a contract with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), in order to conduct research on health care reforms undertaken during the Great Recession. In a scenario of increasing budget constraints, the health sector has become an attractive target for policymakers seeking to rein in social spending, not least due to its size and potential for efficiency gains.

Respect for human rights is a universal value embedded in the European Union Treaties. However, the economic crisis has forced Member States to introduce structural reforms, cutting public expenditure and availability of social benefits, for example in the areas of health and education. In this context, he European Parliament commissioned Milieu Ltd to carry out an assessment of the impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Member States of the European Union. The study looks at seven Member States: Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.