The European Union is committed to economic, social and territorial cohesion, balanced economic growth and upward economic convergence. Generally, Member States have converged over the last decades in both the economic and social dimension. However, the economic and financial crisis halted these trends and since 2008, stalling or divergent patterns marked the performance of the European Union Member States. Diverging performances among Member States warrant common concern as they contradict the expectation of growing cohesion at national and pan-European level. In order to support policymakers to identify and address possible diverging trends, Eurofound has designed a research activity entitled Monitoring Convergence in the European Union to monitor convergence among Member States in four main research areas: employment, working conditions, quality of life and socio-economic factors.
This project aims at monitoring convergence in living conditions and social protection. More specifically, the project aims at analysing long term trends of Member States in the European Unon in the dimension of quality of life and social protections, how these trends have changed over the last decade and how does each Member State contribute to the process (including which countries have managed to improve their condition on the observed indicators and which have not). Further, the aim is understanding and contextualising these dynamics. Based on the observed trends, relevant policy initiatives will be discussed which have the potential to reduce disparities among Member States and to foster convergence across the European Union.