Life after Lisbon: Europe's Challenges to Promote Labour Force Participation and Reduce Income Inequality

Life after Lisbon: Europe's Challenges to Promote Labour Force Participation and Reduce Income Inequality

Life after Lisbon: Europe's Challenges to Promote Labour Force Participation and Reduce Income Inequality

Life after Lisbon: Europe's Challenges to Promote Labour Force Participation and Reduce Income Inequality

Excerpt

In June 2010, the Europe 2020 agenda replaced the European Lisbon Strategy, the overarching framework for European social and employment policy between 2000 and 2010. Europe 2020 continues the main themes of the Lisbon Agenda by focusing on economic inclusion and territorial cohesion, but is also a response to existing and new realities– including the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s and the need to develop a smart and green economy in an increasingly interdependent world.

This report assesses two key components of the Lisbon Strategy and the Europe 2020 agenda: promoting labour force participation and reducing income inequality. Labour force participation is a basic condition for social inclusion and also facilitates longer-term social stability. The reduction of income inequality between regions and social groups is closely related to ensuring that fewer Europeans lack equal opportunities and are at risk of poverty, social exclusion and discrimination.

The purpose of the report is to identify progress against these objectives, what has driven the outcomes, potential trade-offs among outcomes and future challenges, and policy implications for European policymakers going forward. While the study initially focused on what had been achieved in the Lisbon Strategy, the current economic crisis as indicated in the Europe 2020 agenda has changed the policy landscape in making longstanding policy objectives harder to achieve or in cases obsolete. As such, policymakers need to get a better sense of the evidence base for policy interventions and see what works in what context.

This report informs the policy debate on where European social and employment policy needs to go next on the basis of the available evidence and is likely to be of interest to policymakers and those with a wider interest in European social and employment policy.

The report builds on project work that RAND Europe undertook for the Directorate-General of Employment, Social Policy and Equal Opportunities at the European Commission. The further development of the report was made possible by internal support provided by RAND Europe. This study used focused literature reviews and also data modelling to arrive at its findings. It has been peerreviewed according to RAND’s quality assurance standards. The authors would like to acknowledge the support of our sponsors and the editorial support provided by Janice Pedersen and Sam Drabble. Professor Dr. Anton Hemerijck, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the VU University Amsterdam and vice-chancellor, provided invaluable senior advice during the research and was kind enough to write the foreword to this report. The views and findings presented in this document are those of the authors alone and do not represent any official position.

RAND Europe is an independent not-forprofit research organisation that aims to improve policy and decision-making in the public interest through research and analysis.

For more information on this document or RAND Europe, please contact,

Dr Christian van Stolk RAND Europe Westbrook Centre Milton Road Cambridge, CB4 1YG UK Tel: +44 1223 353329 E-mail: stolk@rand.org . . .

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