32

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Regional inequalities in the EU

17-05-2019

The issue of inequality has gained increasing importance in the public and political agenda in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, and in the context of political movements representing the 'places left behind'. Inequality may relate to income and wealth, but also to a variety of aspects such as access to basic services, education and infrastructure. In the context of regional disparities, it may also refer to differing levels of socio-economic development. Common inequality measures ...

The issue of inequality has gained increasing importance in the public and political agenda in the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, and in the context of political movements representing the 'places left behind'. Inequality may relate to income and wealth, but also to a variety of aspects such as access to basic services, education and infrastructure. In the context of regional disparities, it may also refer to differing levels of socio-economic development. Common inequality measures have revealed that, while regional disparities have been decreasing when considering the EU as a whole, they have been increasing within some countries. A number of persistently low-growth regions exist in southern Europe, as do many low-income regions in eastern Europe. Every Member State has a number of 'inner peripheries', which are habitually located in post-industrial or rural areas and often characterised by high levels of unemployment, poor infrastructure, lack of skilled workforce and hampered accessibility. Strengthening social, economic and territorial cohesion, and reducing regional disparities is the main goal of EU cohesion policy. As a major EU tool to address regional inequalities, this policy provides a wide range of support for businesses and activities in areas such as research, environment, transport, employment, social inclusion, education and institutional capacity-building. Such support is crucial for addressing the underlying problems of many lagging regions, helping them create better living conditions, retain and attract talent, encourage investment, improve productivity and develop regional innovation systems. Together with economic governance frameworks and EU support for structural reform, EU cohesion policy can play an important role in reducing inequality, in a comprehensive and multidimensional way. While traditionally, GDP per capita has been used to assess regional convergence, a variety of new indicators tracking progress on issues correlated with inequality are available for this purpose today. Moreover, the proposals for the EU's post-2020 policy framework include new additional funding allocation criteria such as youth unemployment, education levels, climate change, and the reception and integration of migrants. These changes possibly indicate a shift towards a more comprehensive view of territorial convergence in the EU.

Inequality [What Think Tanks are thinking]

23-11-2018

Inequality has diminished on a global scale in the past 30 years, as more than 2 billion people have been lifted out of poverty in countries such as China or India. However, in the United States and, to a lesser extent, western Europe and other developed regions, inequality within individual countries has often increased in recent years after decades of general growth in prosperity. Many analysts attribute this phenomenon both to globalisation and to inadequate policy responses to the pace of technological ...

Inequality has diminished on a global scale in the past 30 years, as more than 2 billion people have been lifted out of poverty in countries such as China or India. However, in the United States and, to a lesser extent, western Europe and other developed regions, inequality within individual countries has often increased in recent years after decades of general growth in prosperity. Many analysts attribute this phenomenon both to globalisation and to inadequate policy responses to the pace of technological change. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on economic and social inequality. Reports on gender and racial inequalities will be covered in greater detail in a future edition in the series.

Global Trends to 2035 - Economy and Society

20-11-2018

This study maps and analyses current and future global trends in the fields of economics and society, covering the period to 2035. Drawing on and complementing existing literature, it summarises and analyses the findings of relevant foresight studies in relation to such global trends. It traces recent changes in the perceived trajectory of already-identified trends and identifies significant new or emerging trends. It also addresses potential policy implications of such trends for the EU.

This study maps and analyses current and future global trends in the fields of economics and society, covering the period to 2035. Drawing on and complementing existing literature, it summarises and analyses the findings of relevant foresight studies in relation to such global trends. It traces recent changes in the perceived trajectory of already-identified trends and identifies significant new or emerging trends. It also addresses potential policy implications of such trends for the EU.

Külső szerző

EPRS, DG

Measuring social progress in EU regions

01-10-2018

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (the European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU's social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help ...

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (the European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU's social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help present a more comprehensive picture of the state of European societies. The EU regional Social Progress Index provides an overview of aspects including health, access to education, environmental quality, housing, personal rights and inclusion. The 2016 findings give a mixed picture of social progress across EU regions. Generally, Nordic and Dutch regions figure among the top performers, with southern and eastern regions lagging behind. However, the picture becomes more nuanced when specific dimensions of social progress are taken into account. The index also shows that social progress scores do not always correlate with a region's GDP. Improving social progress is also relevant to EU cohesion policy, one of the goals of which is to achieve social, economic and territorial cohesion, while also reducing regional disparities. Regional investments can therefore be geared to support both economic performance and social progress. The role and application of new indicators and indexes in this process is currently being explored with a view to establishing how they can be used in policy to support real change, for instance by monitoring developments, identifying priorities, and evaluating progress. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in November 2017.

Convergence in EMU: What and How?

05-06-2018

One major characteristics of an optimal currency area is its ability to maintain or foster integration and convergence among its Member States. This objective requires reaching a stable economic and financial situation and developing resilience to shocks. After reviewing the state of convergence in the euro area, this paper proposes a number of recommendations, aimed at improving convergence towards the steady state, as well as financial and cyclical convergence. Recommendations focus on several ...

One major characteristics of an optimal currency area is its ability to maintain or foster integration and convergence among its Member States. This objective requires reaching a stable economic and financial situation and developing resilience to shocks. After reviewing the state of convergence in the euro area, this paper proposes a number of recommendations, aimed at improving convergence towards the steady state, as well as financial and cyclical convergence. Recommendations focus on several policy areas, including cohesion policy, the statute of the ECB, public and private debt sustainability, fiscal rules and minimum wage policy.

Külső szerző

J.Creel

EYE event - Equal opportunities: Forever poor or born to be free?

16-05-2018

The principle of equal opportunities for all is a corner stone of democracy. It implies that, on the basis of the principle of non-discrimination, all people should have opportunities in all areas of life, such as education, employment, advancement or distribution of resources, irrespective of their age, race, gender, religion, ethnic origin or any other individual or group characteristic unrelated to ability, performance or qualifications. All kinds of inequalities affect access to opportunities ...

The principle of equal opportunities for all is a corner stone of democracy. It implies that, on the basis of the principle of non-discrimination, all people should have opportunities in all areas of life, such as education, employment, advancement or distribution of resources, irrespective of their age, race, gender, religion, ethnic origin or any other individual or group characteristic unrelated to ability, performance or qualifications. All kinds of inequalities affect access to opportunities and can lead to more inequalities. As long as all have equal access to high-quality education, other public goods and services, finance and entrepreneurship, some level of inequality of outcomes is both economically inevitable and politically acceptable. Inequalities, including those of opportunities, are currently growing and young people are particularly hardly hit. There is hardly any public debate that does not touch on this issue as it is at the core of the current global challenges. What is really at stake and how is the European Union responding?

Convergence in EMU: What and How?

03-05-2018

Convergence is one of the key goals of the European Union and has been at the centre of many recent debates. This paper strives to identify the types of convergence that are pivotal to the well-functioning of the euro area and discusses their role in the context of the EMU’s governance framework. Evidence suggests that key economic indicators have converged for some member states before coming to a halt (or even diverge) with the onset of the global financial and euro area debt crises. As economic ...

Convergence is one of the key goals of the European Union and has been at the centre of many recent debates. This paper strives to identify the types of convergence that are pivotal to the well-functioning of the euro area and discusses their role in the context of the EMU’s governance framework. Evidence suggests that key economic indicators have converged for some member states before coming to a halt (or even diverge) with the onset of the global financial and euro area debt crises. As economic convergence depends mostly on the policies of the member states, we call for a strengthening of national responsibility for structural reforms. We discuss strengths and shortcomings of the recently proposed reform delivery tool and present our proposal of ‘national convergence roadmaps’. We propose that member states can apply for resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds by committing to convergence targets and submitting reform plans in the context of the European Semester. If positively assessed by the European Commission and approved by the Council, the reform efforts could be financially rewarded – conditional on the potential for positive spill-overs, continuous implementation of the reforms and achievement of the convergence targets.

Külső szerző

M. Dolls, C. Fuest, C. Krolage, F. Neumeier, D. Stöhlker

Socioeconomic inequality in Russia

19-04-2018

Russia has gone from Soviet-era egalitarianism to extremes of wealth and poverty. Economic growth since 2000 has slightly reduced the gap between rich and poor, but inequality is still higher than in most other developed countries. The income gap is exacerbated by such factors as corruption and low taxes for the rich, but it is also mitigated by a relatively inclusive education system.

Russia has gone from Soviet-era egalitarianism to extremes of wealth and poverty. Economic growth since 2000 has slightly reduced the gap between rich and poor, but inequality is still higher than in most other developed countries. The income gap is exacerbated by such factors as corruption and low taxes for the rich, but it is also mitigated by a relatively inclusive education system.

The regions in the digital single market: ICT and digital opportunities for European regions

19-04-2018

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The European Commission estimates that completing the digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe's economy, create 3.8 million jobs and transform public services. In addition, many future jobs will require information and communications technologies (ICT) skills, rendering the process of acquiring digital skills an imperative. The European Commission has presented several initiatives to ...

The digital economy is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The European Commission estimates that completing the digital single market could contribute €415 billion per year to Europe's economy, create 3.8 million jobs and transform public services. In addition, many future jobs will require information and communications technologies (ICT) skills, rendering the process of acquiring digital skills an imperative. The European Commission has presented several initiatives to boost the use of ICT in Europe. The Digital Agenda for Europe, announced in 2010 in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, aimed at promoting economic recovery and improving social inclusion through a more digitally proficient Europe. The Digital Single Market strategy, introduced in 2015, complements the Digital Agenda for Europe. Achieving a digital single market will ensure that Europe maintains its position as a world leader in the digital economy, helping European companies to grow globally. In 2016, the European Commission adopted a new Skills Agenda for Europe which includes measures on the acquisition of digital skills. Although many of the digital single market priorities are primarily dealt with at national level, various initiatives can be explored at the local and regional level. Regions and cities can plan and pursue their own digital strategies in the interests of enhancing economic growth and to promote their citizens' wellbeing. Enhanced use of digital technologies can improve citizens' access to information and culture, promote open government, equality and non-discrimination. However, a number of challenges need to be addressed to fully reap the benefits of digitalisation. Personnel with ICT skills are still lacking in Europe and many European citizens are not adequately trained to carry out ICT-related tasks. In addition, broadband connectivity in some parts of Europe remains slow. Although certain EU regions and local authorities experiment with new technologies, not all of them have managed to provide a high-level range of digital services and ICT related activities. This briefing is an update of an earlier edition, published in October 2015.

The impact of new technologies on the labour market and the social economy

01-03-2018

This STOA study investigates the potential employment effects of new information and communication technologies, by examining the relationship between innovation, new technologies, employment and inequality. It reviews the existing literature and experiences of previous technological revolutions, and argues that the race between job creation through new products, and job destruction from process innovation, has been won in the past by the job-creating effects of innovation. It concludes that there ...

This STOA study investigates the potential employment effects of new information and communication technologies, by examining the relationship between innovation, new technologies, employment and inequality. It reviews the existing literature and experiences of previous technological revolutions, and argues that the race between job creation through new products, and job destruction from process innovation, has been won in the past by the job-creating effects of innovation. It concludes that there is an uneven distribution in the costs of digitalisation, because of the skills-biased nature of technological change - so the challenge of the future lies in coping with rising inequality from technological change. The study also proposes a set of policy options for dealing with the employment effects of digitalisation.

Külső szerző

EPRS, DG

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