Social policy in the European Union: state of play 2021

The OSE was contracted by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) to conduct research which resulted in the 22nd edition of the ‘Bilan social’ (the short name of the book in French), edited by Bart Vanhercke and Slavina Spasova. Contributors to the book include Cinzia Alcidi, Angelina Atanasova, Denis Bouget, Hans Bruyninckx, Francesco Corti, Michael Dauderstädt, Thibaud Deruelle, Boris Fronteddu, Gülcin Karadeniz, Jock Martin, Aida Ponce Del Castillo and Amy Verdun. The first chapters of this year’s Bilan social analyse the impact of the pandemic on various socio-economic groups and economic sectors, asking: who are the winners and losers from the pandemic? The EU’s arsenal has been considerably enhanced by economic support measures unprecedented in size and breaking with longstanding EU taboos. Member States are paving the way for a ‘stronger European Health Union’. We also discuss the main initiatives of the European Green Deal, and how its implementation roadmap can achieve the EU’s climate targets. How can digitalisation be moulded to benefit the climate and society – and not Big Tech? Will the power balance between economic and social forces in the EU recovery finally be tilted in favour of the latter? In the second half of the book, we analyse new initiatives bringing answers to these questions and providing further building blocks for the EU’s (post-Covid) social and climate agenda.