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Social Europe: Safeguarding social inclusion in the EU

SIM Europe is a social policy monitoring instrument for the EU 28. How can social imbalances in the member states be identified and redressed? How is it possible to demonstrate – including quantitatively – where national influence is dwindling and a need to legislate at the EU level is emerging?

[The Union] shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child.
Treaty of Lisbon, Art. 3, Para. 3

The core of the European social model, the national welfare state, was under pressure prior to globalization. Social policy was already under stress due to increased competition from the single market. Even before the euro crisis, there were calls for the EU to do more for social equality and security and these calls have become much louder, as the social situation has worsened dramatically, especially in the southern countries of the EU.

This development presents the EU with the problem that on the one hand, the EU is responsible for achieving social inclusion in keeping with its objectives, yet on the other, member states have not conferred the competences for doing so to the EU. Conversely, member states face the problem that they hold responsibility, but are less and less in a position to provide equality of social inclusion. As a result, citizens’ expectations are being disappointed twice over, so increasing the EU’s acceptance deficit.

SIM Europe measures social justice (What is the current situation?), evaluates reforms (What are national governments doing? And what is the general thrust of their reforms?), and makes recommendations (How can the situation be improved?). Our focus is on six social dimensions: poverty prevention, access to training, labor market inclusion, anti-discrimination, health and inter-generational justice.

How does SIM Europe work? Measure, evaluate, recommend

1)The annual “EU Social Justice Index” from the SGI team provides a country ranking measuring thesituation regarding social justice in all 28 member states. The input data is from Eurostat and the SGI network estimates.

2) Once a year, the “Reform Barometer” assesses member states’ specific reform efforts, with the help of an expert survey carried out in conjunction with the LSE.

3) Additionally, social policy briefs analyze current developments and draw up policy recommendations.

Publication: Social Policy in the EU – Reform Barometer 2016

What do European governments do to remove social inequities? What reforms are promising? The reform barometer gives answers.

For further information, especially the new "Data Explorer", visit our website:

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