EU convergence monitoring hub
Latest publications on upward convergence
Convergence versus divergence
Socioeconomic convergence is at the root of the European project. The need for addressing and monitoring social convergence, alongside economic convergence, has gained particular emphasis in the European policy agenda. (See glossary definition and methodology).
The EU has achieved upward convergence in both its economic and social dimensions over recent decades. However, both the economic crisis of 2008–2013 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have 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 and 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 how Member States are progressing, Eurofound is committed to investigating whether or not these trends signal a general lowering of living and working conditions. As part of its Programming document 2021–2024: Towards recovery and resilience, Eurofound’s research activity on promoting social cohesion and convergence aims to contribute to the policy debate on fairness and informing policies aimed at improving social cohesion and promoting convergence towards better living and working standards in the EU.
This research is focused on 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 37 indicators that illustrate progress in each area.
- EU convergence monitoring hub: Main findings
Research carried out prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020, and published subsequently, may include data relating to the 28 EU Member States. Following this date, research only takes into account the 27 EU Member States (EU28 minus the UK), unless specified otherwise.