Opportunities for social participation in Europe are unevenly distributed. However, how much need is there for socio-political reform in the individual EU member states actually? Will the reforms already undertaken suffice to level the playing field on social issues? While there is a fairly clear picture of the state-of-play for social inclusion in the EU member states, that is one question which remains unanswered.
To cast light upon it, the Bertelsmann Stiftung developed a Reform Barometer in cooperation with the European Bureau for Policy Consulting and Social Research Vienna (Prof. Bernd Marin) and the University of St. Gallen (Prof. Christian Keuschnigg). The Reform Barometer is based on a Europe-wide expert survey, in which 1058 social scientists from across the EU took part. These experts were asked to assess the need for reform during the period from July 2014 to January 2016 from five different angles which relate to social justice (poverty prevention, equitable education, labour market access, social cohesion and non-discrimination and health), as well as to provide details on reform activity of national governments and its expected impact. The results make it possible to compare reform policy both across the five policy dimensions and between countries: so for example, they have shown that some Eastern European countries not only took more action than the average to improve social inclusion, but also received good marks from the experts for the quality of their reforms.