A self-critical flashback on the EU’s anti-poverty promise

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Frank Vandenbroucke HERMAN DELEECK CENTRE FOR SOCIAL POLICY A self-critical flashback on the EU’s anti-poverty promise WORKING PAPER NO 18 15 October 2018 University of Antwerp Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy centrumvoorsociaalbeleid be Vandenbroucke1 Amsterdam – f i g vandenbroucke@uva nl Foreword to Cantillon B Goedemé T Hills J (eds ) Decent incomes all Improving policies in Europe Oxford Press forthcoming Abstract This paper is an introduction a book by Bea Tim and John new presents extensive empirical research impact pursued EU countries fight poverty focuses question that has exercised European policy-makers policy-analysts at least ten years: why did governments fail deliver their proclaimed with so much emphasis turn century reduce among citizens? In this introductory I situate line marked three earlier books look back self-critically promises made years ago Lisbon Summit 1 thank Jonathan Zeitlin comments The which It constitutes important sequel return below And it cannot read not me without some soul-searching about solemn therefore have start relatively well-known story For those concerned expectations ran high policy was explicitly introduced as distinct focus attention cooperation special March 2000 Council concluded ‘Steps must taken make decisive eradication setting adequate targets agreed end year’ Objectives against social exclusion were then Nice December Since impossible monitor progress member states regard inclusion absence comparable quantitative indicators Belgian government decided establishment common priority its presidency Union during second half 2001 indeed set Laeken crucial factor political success preparatory scientific work late Anthony Atkinson his team published Indicators 2002 (Atkinson et al 2002) That seminal first publications referred my sentences Although we may forgotten part inspiration Why single-mindedly 2000? Many welfare state scholars would emphasize fighting but one dimension broader mission quarrel them However apart from idea litmus test justice how well society caters most vulnerable members there another motivation ‘tactical’ consideration underlying tactical call strong traction inevitably imply concern quality large sure national actors wary comprehensive debate architecture hardware applied it; engaging outcomes (which they could refuse thought) also engage inputs needed safeguard modernize Europe’s rather implicit our campaign chapter Summit; might even say agenda stealth 2 foreword formulated cautiously clearly: “The are vehicle defining any pecking order nations tool preserve rejuvenate hallmark protection citizens Indeed credible commitment combat presupposes firm efficient productive continuous adaptation needs risks ” (Vandenbroucke 2002a p viii) objectives subsequent ‘Open Coordination Inclusion’ thought ambitious realistic ‘Realism’ seen feature process because pains respect sovereignty spirit subsidiarity diversity “Our should yet What exercise ambition area ‘standards excellence’ than standards mediocrity (…) But single best practice: different ways reach excellence no sight since can always do better Hence Open Method put only guidance hard legislation subsidiarity: designed help develop own reflecting individual situations share experience review transparent environment v-vi) same year commissioned brief Gosta Esping-Andersen co-authors Need New Welfare State “to reflect upon Gestalt beginning both point view desirability feasibility” 2002b ix) called investment stressed substitute spending correctly recalled Cronert Palme volume: ‘social state’ replace traditional unrealistic especially given live ageing ever more people dependent benefits age pp x) Such carefully balanced ideas had inform further development become cognitive normative tool: policy- makers learn each other’s practices; methodology allow define Europe’ specific terms basis substantive views consensus-building Nearly two decades later denying defined increased bitter divisions consensus emerged crisis Eurozone went wrong? fact separate processes pensions health care does contradict 2000s these less centre-stage (and developed) Inclusion softness governance usual suspect discussions Yet too easy essential problem ‘non-binding’ nature Strategy successor strategy 2020 recent again illustrates (Jessoula Madama 2018) There non-binding launched makes weak within instruments stricto sensu significant extent decentralized qua implementation design Subsidiarity salient sensitive principle when comes minimum income guidelines precondition getting off ground level Therefore actual challenge multifaceted: reduced opposition between ‘binding’ realm coordination move ‘outcome indicators’ ‘policy input critically existing mix enforcing uniform ‘one-size-fits-all’ ideal need consistent packages tailor-made identified various contributions volume; Marchal Luigjes suggests operational way pursue combine disposes optimal benchmarking ‘soft’ funding ‘hard’ domains steadily enhance salience fiscal economic surveillance organized If Pillar Rights solemnly 2017 now translated into program hand combined turning right direction Importantly formulates whole edifice Below observation anti- requires well-functioning across board Rather focusing third tried understand before financial 2008 improving employment records worsening (for non-elderly population) number mature (Cantillon 2014) Reconciling Work Poverty Reduction book’s title difficult? key neutralized left behind non- elderly living households little or attachment labour market confronted considerable increasing edited adds insights 2014 will try summarize richness material; sometimes emerging picture still contradictory triggers questions Let formulate what consider main take-home messages analysis firmly positions itself tradition sees AROP at-risk-of-poverty indicator formally endorsed legitimate benchmark measures societies tolerate though metric inequality bottom distribution ‘absolute’ sense Simultaneously qualifications qualification reality threshold very poor country compared rich country; reference budgets shows clearly diminish relevance 60% median (the corroborates too) underscores importance convergence prosperity fundamental ‘a model’ growth versus decline ‘union’ pan- sadly My message upward parcel model Achieving matter policy; policy: depends 3 stabilizer citizen’s contribution volume Matsaganis Leventi rightly use (AROP) anchored time assess role policies: correct gauge shocks When shock occurs lose out standard once enjoy minimally decent To somewhat perspective: creeping trends slowly growing incomes; context relative ‘floating threshold’ relevant contrast judge ‘anchored time’ floating seemingly technical leads states’ trajectories Both slow sudden play elaborate An insight emerges public necessarily culprit adverse direct ‘active’ six seven examined Paulus Sutherland Tasseva decade entirely ‘lost decade’ reduction: changes tax benefit actually reducing seems ‘welfare harder stand still’ exactly changed fabric forces result exogenous: globalization technological change Sweeping generalizations With interplay developers human capital hence merits caveats Hemerijck (2017) fifth added revisited detrimental abound however such rarely underpinned observations causalities surprising paid ongoing debates endogenous One trend position population: diminishing (not them!) whilst increase former maturation pension systems gradual improvement women’s participation advantage force notably who economically active (I write ‘may force’ reason dare affirm conjecture; data available micro-simulation exercises nevertheless examination possible higher reader mistake example I’ve here: don’t presume clash generations let alone zero- sum game non-elderly: instance provision macro-economic stabilizer; indirectly supports younger population times contribute shift Another dual earnership: where earners tend case complicated sociological reasons rapidly Salverda Thewissen show Netherlands (Salverda worse; stand-still lead inadequacy differ country: rise earnership explain developments dates periods; other So far analytical focus: banking sector fragility housing booms lack automatic stabilizers trust belief austerity… latent stability vastly underestimated literature including (except policy) run-up monetary unification necessary ‘flexibility’ markets often questioning learned lesson: union institutions support flexibility Flexibility associated ‘enabling’ equipping skills empower thus recreate security ‘Social investment’ enabling par cater achieve collective action: bargaining organisation insurance devices Stability typically protect individuals: unemployment stabilises economy protects purchasing power unemployed words intrinsically action ‘protective’ Enabling protective mutually reinforcing creating resilient How prevented led sharp increases time’? answer largely surpasses Avoiding deep required quite policies; allowed function Partly choices austerity flaws Repairing implies Monetary becomes true ‘insurance union’ generally latter expression happenstance: aim systemic functions stabilization entails broad insurance’ ‘labour standards’ interwoven Barnard De Baere 2017) We think reiterate used reconnect issues broached (see volume’s conclusion here general been understood take ‘the rest policy’ follow suit seemed clever expedient turned incomplete failure simply avoid repetition dismal embedded 4 about: piecemeal potential broken pages importantly understanding conversely recognition complex interdependence socio-economic reduction consequent ‘mainstreaming’ References Marlier E Nolan (2002) F (2014) successful States? G Gallie D Myles (eds) Uses Investment Jessoula M (2018) Fighting chance Routledge/EUI Studies Political Economy W S middle fared Netherlands? Tale Stagnation Population Shifts (ed Inequality Inclusive Growth Rich Countries: Shared Challenges Contrasting Fortunes (2002a) in: v- xi (2002b) Foreword: Sustainable Justice Co-ordination viii-xxiv C after Crisis Cambridge: Cambridge