In the wake of an economic crisis that had a very uneven impact on social outcomes across EU Member States, EU leaders and policymakers have come to acknowledge that to make social Europe a reality, social convergence must be given an equal footing to economic convergence in policymaking. In this context, and with rising concern over disparities in the social progress of Member States, Eurofound has established a research strand to provide the evidence on whether and where socioeconomic trends are converging or diverging across countries. This report establishes a conceptual framework to support Eurofound’s research on convergence. It develops a methodological strategy to examine convergence and applies it to investigate patterns across the EU in 37 indicators. These encompass four areas of the social domain: employment, working conditions, living conditions and socioeconomic factors. It finds that since the crisis, there has been upward convergence in 23 of the indicators.
In the context of rising concern over disparities in the social progress of EU Member States, Eurofound in its 2017–2020 work programme committed to investigating whether and where socioeconomic trends are converging or diverging across countries. This report is the first output of the research strand dedicated to this investigation, entitled ‘Monitoring convergence in the European Union’. It presents the results of a study to establish a conceptual framework to support Eurofound’s research on convergence. Read more in the report - see Related content.