EU convergence monitoring hub
‘Improving performance of Member States in terms of employment, working and living conditions – moving closer to a policy target – alongside decreasing disparities between them.’
This is the definition of convergence used by Eurofound for its 2018 study Monitoring EU convergence: Concepts, measurements and indicators. In simpler terms, convergence is the process in which Member States - and regions within them - catch up towards the leaders in relation to a particular outcome or policy objective.
The EU has achieved convergence in both its economic and social dimensions over recent decades. However, the economic crisis of 2008–2010 brought these trends to a sudden halt on some indicators, stalling patterns of convergence or causing Member States to diverge in their performance.
Diverging performance across Member States, as well as increasing inequalities within them, are a concern because this:
- defies the expectation that deepening European integration leads to growing cohesion at national and pan-European levels
- may give rise to feelings of social injustice and unfairness among citizens, fuelling anti-European sentiment
- is unsustainable from the economic point of view, especially in a monetary union
In the context of increasing concern over divergence in the progress of Member States, Eurofound in its 2017–2020 work programme committed to investigating whether or not these trends signal a general lowering of living and working conditions.
This research is focused around four areas of convergence: employment, working conditions, living conditions and socioeconomic factors. Within each of these areas, three or more dimensions are explored through a set of indicators that illustrate progress in each area.