Promoting social cohesion and convergence

Monitoring convergence in the European Union: Looking backwards to move forward – Upward convergence through crises

Flagship report
Publisert
20 desember 2021
pdf
Formats and languages
Executive summary in 22 languages
Last ned

Key findings

  • The economic crisis (2008–2013) had a significant negative impact on upward convergence among EU Member States. While economic convergence was quickly restored, downward divergence in the areas of employment and living conditions prevailed until 2013, highlighting how deeply social and economic convergence are linked.
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  • The economic crisis (2008–2013) had a significant negative impact on upward convergence among EU Member States. While economic convergence was quickly restored, downward divergence in the areas of employment and living conditions prevailed until 2013, highlighting how deeply social and economic convergence are linked.
  • While many social indicators began to converge upwards during the 2014–2019 recovery period, the economic crisis left an uneven geographical legacy. While central and eastern Europe continued to converge strongly towards the leading north-western region, southern Europe was increasingly left behind both socially and economically.
  • Between 2008 and 2019, upward convergence in the quality of governance and institutions between EU Member States was largely absent. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, convergence in institutional quality will be an important way to translate economic convergence into lasting social convergence in eastern Europe and improve both in southern Europe.
  • Strong EU and national-level policy responses to the pandemic prevented a more devastating and uneven impact of the crisis on EU labour markets and living conditions. However, as the COVID-19 crisis is not fully over, it will be critical to maintain these policy efforts, especially in the context of the digital and green transition where the right policy tools will be essential in preventing new north-east versus south-west divergence paths.
  • The full implementation of the NextGenerationEU plans will be crucial, and convergence between EU Member States will depend on how well national recovery plans are aligned with the EU-level vision. The willingness of governments to focus on supranational priorities is an opportunity to reverse the inequalities created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and EU-level coordination will be especially important.
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Sammendrag

Upward convergence lies at the heart of the EU project. Member States and their citizens sign up to be part of the Union, as they expect their membership will lead to balanced economic prosperity and social progress across countries. Increasing disparities between Member States, as happened durinRead more

Upward convergence lies at the heart of the EU project. Member States and their citizens sign up to be part of the Union, as they expect their membership will lead to balanced economic prosperity and social progress across countries. Increasing disparities between Member States, as happened during the 2008–2013 economic crisis, could be seen as a betrayal of the EU’s promise, and potentially lay the seeds for discontent and disintegration. This flagship report is the culmination of Eurofound’s research into monitoring convergence in the EU, which was initiated in 2017. It describes the shifting dynamics of upward convergence over the period 2008–2019, explores the short-term impact of COVID-19 on European economies and societies, together with its implications for convergence, and discusses the long-term effects of the pandemic and the future of upward economic and social convergence in Europe.

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Formats and languages

  • Report

    Number of pages: 
    120
    Reference no.: 
    EF21008
    ISBN: 
    978-92-897-2237-7
    Catalogue no.: 
    TJ-01-21-504-EN-N
    DOI: 
    10.2806/78744
    Catalogue info

    Monitoring convergence in the European Union: Looking backwards to move forward – Upward convergence through crises

    Formater

    Cite this publication: 

    Eurofound (2021), Monitoring convergence in the European Union: Looking backwards to move forward – Upward convergence through crises, Challenges and prospects in the EU series, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

  • Executive summary

    Reference no.: 
    EF21008EN1
    Catalogue info

    Monitoring convergence in the European Union: Looking backwards to move forward – Upward convergence through crises

    Author(s): 
    Eurofound

    Available for download in 22 languages

    Last ned
  • Tables and graphs

    The flagship report contains the following list of tables and figures.

    List of tables

    Table 1: Overview of indicators
    Table 2: Drivers of employment in the EU (panel analysis)
    Table 3: Drivers of employment growth in the EU (panel analysis)
    Table 4: Summary of economic convergence trends in sigma, delta and beta convergence and at the regional level
    Table 5: Summary of social convergence trends in sigma, delta and beta convergence and at the regional level
    Table 6: Summary of institutional convergence trends in sigma, delta and beta convergence

    Table A1: Drivers of employment in the EU (panel analysis)
    Table A2: Drivers of employment growth in the EU (panel analysis)
    Table A3: Impact of unemployment changes on GDP per capita (regression coefficients), EU27, 2000–2019

    List of figures

    Figure 1: The three dimensions of convergence
    Figure 2: Sigma and delta convergence in GDP per capita (PPS), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 3: Unconditional beta convergence in GDP per capita (PPS), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 4: Regional quintile clusters of GDP per capita in PPS in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 5: Sigma and delta convergence in disposable household income per capita (PPS), 2008–2019
    Figure 6: Unconditional beta convergence in disposable household income per capita (PPS), 2008–2019
    Figure 7: Regional quintile clusters of disposable household income per capita in PPS in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 8: Sigma and delta convergence in income inequality (income quintile share ratio), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 9: Unconditional beta convergence in income inequality (income quintile share ratio), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 10: Sigma and delta convergence in monthly minimum wage (PPS), 2008–2019
    Figure 11: Unconditional beta convergence in monthly minimum wage (PPS), 2008–2019
    Figure 12: Sigma and delta convergence in the employment rate (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 13: Unconditional beta convergence in the employment rate (%), EU27, 2008–2013 and 2013–2019
    Figure 14: Regional quintile clusters of the employment rate in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 15: Sigma and delta convergence in the unemployment rate (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 16: Unconditional beta convergence in the unemployment rate (%), EU27, 2008–2013 and 2013–2019
    Figure 17: Regional quintile clusters of the unemployment rate in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 18: Sigma and delta convergence in the gender employment gap (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 19: Unconditional beta convergence in the gender employment gap (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 20: Regional quintile clusters of the gender employment gap in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 21: Sigma and delta convergence in the youth NEET rate (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 22: Unconditional beta convergence in the youth NEET rate (%), EU27, 2008–2013 and 2013–2019
    Figure 23: Regional quintile clusters of the youth NEET rate in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 24: Sigma and delta convergence in the early school leavers rate (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 25: Unconditional beta convergence in the early school leavers rate (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 26: Regional quintile clusters of the early school leavers rate in 2008 and 2019 and cluster mobility from 2008 to 2019, EU NUTS 2
    Figure 27: Sigma and delta convergence in the AROPE rate (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 28: Unconditional beta convergence in the AROPE rate (%), EU27, 2008–2013 and 2013–2019
    Figure 29: Sigma and delta convergence in unmet medical needs (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 30: Unconditional beta convergence in unmet medical needs (%), EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 31: Sigma and delta convergence in the WGI rule of law, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 32: Unconditional beta convergence in the WGI rule of law, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 33: Sigma and delta convergence in the WGI government effectiveness, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 34: Unconditional beta convergence in the WGI government effectiveness, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 35: Sigma and delta convergence in the WGI regulatory quality, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 36: Unconditional beta convergence in the WGI regulatory quality, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 37: Sigma and delta convergence in the WGI voice and accountability, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 38: Unconditional beta convergence in the WGI voice and accountability, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 39: Sigma and delta convergence in the WGI control of corruption, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 40: Unconditional beta convergence in the WGI control of corruption, EU27, 2008–2019
    Figure 41: Sigma and delta convergence in the Ease of Doing Business score, EU27, 2010–2019
    Figure 42: Unconditional beta convergence in the Ease of Doing Business score, EU27, 2010–2019
    Figure 43: Regional clusters of the European Quality of Government Index score (EQI), EU NUTS 1 and 2, 2010 and 2017
    Figure 44: Employment rates in the previous year and annual growth rates by EU Member State, 2000–2019
    Figure 45: Employment growth in southern and central and eastern countries relative to western/northern Europe (regression coefficients plot)
    Figure 46: Summary of the regional leaders and laggards in the social dimension and cluster mobility in the economic dimension, EU NUTS 2, 2008–2019
    Figure 47: Relationship between GDP and unemployment in 2008–2009 (growth rates), EU27
    Figure 48: Relationship between GDP and unemployment in 2019–2020 (growth rates), EU27
    Figure 49: Actual versus predicted unemployment rate in 2020 (%), EU27
    Figure 50: SURE loans and the unemployment gap in 2020, EU27
    Figure 51: Unweighted average employment rate and projections to meet the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan 2030 target (%), EU27
    Figure 52: Unweighted average youth NEET rate and projections to meet the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan 2030 target (%), EU27
    Figure 53: Sigma convergence in GDP per capita (PPS), EU27, 2013–2020
    Figure 54: Change in GDP per capita (in PPS) by Member State (%), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 55: Unconditional beta convergence in GDP per capita (PPS), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 56: Percentage change in GDP per capita (in PPS), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 57: Sigma convergence in the unemployment rate (%), EU27, 2013–2021 (monthly data: January 2020–May 2021)
    Figure 58: Change in unemployment rate by Member State (percentage points), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 59: Unconditional beta convergence of the unemployment rate (%), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 60: Percentage point change in the unemployment rate, EU NUTS 2, 2019–2020
    Figure 61: Sigma convergence in the activity rate (%), EU27, 2013–2020 (quarterly data: Q4 2019–Q4 2020)
    Figure 62: Sigma convergence in labour market slack (%), EU27, 2013–2020 (quarterly data: Q4 2019–Q4 2020)
    Figure 63: Unconditional beta convergence in labour market slack (%), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 64: Estimated change in the at-risk-of-poverty rate, EU, 2019–2020
    Figure 65: Sigma convergence in the youth NEET rate (%), EU27, 2013–2020 (quarterly data: Q4 2019–Q4 2020)
    Figure 66: Unconditional beta convergence in the youth NEET rate (%), EU27, 2019–2020
    Figure 67: Degree of plausibility (on a scale of 1–10) of the health recovery scenarios as assessed by Eurofound experts
    Figure 68: Possible economic recovery scenarios
    Figure 69: Expected speed of economic recovery, EU27
    Figure 70: Experts’ opinions on the expected economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic (on a scale of 0–100)

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.

Part of the series

  • Challenges and prospects in the EU

    Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.

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