Download publication

Policy Contribution

Poor and under pressure: the social impact of Europe’s fiscal consolidation

This Policy Contribution evaluates social indicators that can have a bearing on poverty, looks at the fiscal consolidation strategies of EU member states and assesses the possible links between fiscal consolidation and social developments.

By: and Date: March 31, 2015 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

  • Europe faces major challenges related to poverty, unemployment and polarisation between the south and the north, which impact adversely the current living conditions of many citizens, and also negatively impact medium- and long-term economic growth.
  • Fiscal consolidation exaggerated social hardship. In vulnerable countries there was no alternative to fiscal consolidation, but in most EU countries and at aggregate EU level, consolidation was premature when the cyclical position of the economy was deteriorating.
  • Spending on social protection was shielded relative to other spending categories, but public bank rescue costs were high. While the changes in the tax mix favoured job creation, the overall tax burden become more regressive.
  • There is an increasing generational divide between the elderly and the young in terms of social indicators. Social spending on elderly people was favoured relative to spending on families, children and education. There is now a serious danger that a lost generation might develop in several member states.
  • Forceful policies should include bold structural reforms, better use of the European economic governance framework, more demand promotion, and a revision of national tax/benefit systems for fair burden sharing between the wealthy and poor.
View comments
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Policy Brief

A strategic agenda for the new EU leadership

Memo to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament. 'A strategic agenda for the new EU leadership' by Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff is the first of our 2019 Bruegel memos to the new presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament. Focusing on the most important economic questions at EU level, these Bruegel memos are intended to be a strategic to-do list, outlining the state of affairs that will greet the new Commission.

By: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 13, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Jul
9
12:00

AI, robots and platform workers: What future for European welfare states?

At this event, we launch the study, "Digitalisation and European welfare states", authored by Georgios Petropoulos, J. Scott Marcus, Nicolas Moës, and Enrico Bergamini.

Speakers: Michael Froman, J. Scott Marcus and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: France Stratégie, 20 avenue de Ségur
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Universal basic income and the Finnish experiment

The preliminary results on the Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiment in Finland, and what they mean for the long-standing questions over the potential impact of UBI in developed countries.

By: Catarina Midoes Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 18, 2019
Read article More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Backstage: Policy principles for a new social contract

This episode of The Sound of Economics features Bruegel senior fellow Zsolt Darvas in conversation with Maurizio Bussolo and Bernadette Ségol about income inequality in Europe and Central Asia, and the policy principles underpinning a possible new social contract.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: January 24, 2019
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Towards a new social contract

This event will look at a a proposal for a new social contract put forward by the World Bank.

Speakers: Maurizio Bussolo, Zsolt Darvas, Ruby Gropas and Bernadette Ségol Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 24, 2019
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Economic policy challenges in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean

For a long time, southern and eastern Mediterranean countries struggled with serious socio-economic challenges and dysfunctional economic systems and policies. Marek Dabrowski reviews the challenges the region has to face to get out of a low growth trap.

By: Marek Dabrowski Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 11, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Civil society for the digital age

What is the place of civil society in the digital age as well as the role of technology in society?

Speakers: Eline Chivot, Orla Lynskey, Bertin Martens, Georgios Petropoulos, Thiébaut Weber and Glen Weyl Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 4, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Youth unemployment: Common problem, different solutions?

Youth unemployment is a major obstacle to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s human and economic development. In this blog post, Uri Dadush and Maria Demertzis go into the factors behind the its surge.

By: Uri Dadush and Maria Demertzis Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 29, 2018
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

External Publication

The impact of artificial intelligence on employment

Technological development, and in particular digitalisation, has major implications for labour markets. Assessing its impact will be crucial for developing policies that promote efficient labour markets for the benefit of workers, employers and societies as a whole.

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 31, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Italy's "Dignity Decree"

The new Italian government pushed through its first legislative act including elements of labour market reform. Presented as an overturn of the previous government’s “Jobs Act”, the estimated effects of the decree are controversial. We review Italian economists’ view on the matter.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 23, 2018
Read article

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

The role of independent expertise in legislative process

Testimony before the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).

By: Zsolt Darvas and J. Scott Marcus Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Testimonies Date: July 18, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Understanding (the lack of) German public investment

An array of data suggests that there is a general lack of investment by all branches of the German government, despite running budget surpluses for several years. This blog post plots the progression of the public investment problem, and explores which regions, which sectors, and which levels of government have been most affected.

By: Alexander Roth and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 19, 2018
Load more posts