Funded by: European Commission Horizon 2020 programme H2020– SC6 – GOVERNANCE FOR THE FUTURE

Co-ordinator: Rune Halverson, Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway)

UK Lead: Prof Jacqueline O’Reilly, Co-Director of the Digit Research Centre, University of Sussex Business School (UK).

University of Sussex Business School EUROSHIP Research Fellows: Rachel Verdin & Ann McDonnell

European Partners: University of Milan (Italy), University of Tallinn, (Estonia) University of Hamburg, TÁRKI Social Research Institute (Hungary), University of Florence (Italy), Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), Swiss Paraplegic Research (Switzerland), and Social Platform (Belgium).

These countries provide very different socio-economic and institutional conditions for realising socio-liberal, market-liberal and civic-republican approaches to social citizenship across Europe.

In addition, the Consortium includes the Social Platform, a network of European Social NGOs.

Together the EUROSHIP Consortium will actively involve national and European stakeholders to inform the research, develop policy recommendations and disseminate the results. The project will run from February 2020 to January 2023.

EUROSHIP will provide a new, gender-sensitive, comparative knowledge about the effectiveness of changing social protection policies targeted at reducing poverty and social exclusion in Europe.

Focal points will be the roles of social protection systems (including minimum income schemes), digitalisation of work and social protection delivery, and the social and political opportunities for active agency by three groups of citizens: youth at risk, precarious workers with care obligations and elderly and disabled people with long-term care needs.

Through the involvement of national and European stakeholders, EUROSHIP aims to develop proposals for effective policies and inform relevant policymakers with a view to maximise the project’s impact from a societal as well as scientific perspective.

Linking the analyses of quantitative and qualitative data and four key concepts (social citizenship, social resilience, capability and active agency) will give original insights on how social rights mitigate risks across the life course and affect the scope for exercising social citizenship by vulnerable persons within a multi-level governance system.

EUROSHIP will combine diverse methods, data and disciplines (covering economics, political science, social policy and sociology) in innovative ways:

  1. coordinated life course interviews with low-skilled and low-income women and men;
  2. focus forums with national stakeholders;
  3. policy analyses based on document review and semi-structured expert interviews;
  4. quantitative analyses of comparative micro-data.

To achieve the overall aim, the project is organised in work packages (WPs) around twelve objectives to:

  1. Examine fruitful ways of conceptualising social citizenship in a multi-level and territorially diverse governance system, exploring how meanings of the concept relate to how citizens themselves exercise and think about social citizenship. (WP2)
  2. Identify the mechanisms to exercise social citizenship over the life-course from an historical and cross-national perspective for low educated, low-income women and men in Europe. (WP2)
  3. Develop social indicators generated from existing accessible European data sources based on an assessment of the adequacy of existing EU indicators. Using a stakeholder methodology, in conjunction with relevant policy makers, we will identify necessary changes to data collection and the monitoring of social protection systems. This will result in developing a multidimensional dashboard to track developments in poverty and social exclusion in Europe. (WP3)
  4. Provide an overview of the diversity and historical change in minimum income schemes across Europe. We will examine the reasons behind cross-national variation in their capacity to protect against risks of poverty and social exclusion in the context of long-term structural change of European economies. The analysis will be based on policy analysis, cross-national and comparative analysis of the Social Assistance and Minimum Income Protection Interim Dataset and CBS Minimum Income Protection Indicator database, expert interviews and focus forums with stakeholders assessing their opportunities. (WP4)
  5. Identify the mechanisms and gaps fostering or hampering opportunities for vulnerable youth to achieve quality jobs with entitlement to adequate social protection and avoiding in-work The analysis will be based on policy analysis, cross-sectional and longitudinal micro data from the EU- SILC, and longitudinal data from life-course interviews with young men and women with low education and income. (WP5)
  6. Examine how closing gaps in work and family life balance for precarious workers can be achieved through combinations of social protection policies and labour market conditions. This will draws on policy analysis, microdata from the European Labour Force survey, and longitudinal data from life- course interviews with men and women with low education and income. (WP6)
  7. Analyse how long-term care policies for the elderly and persons with disabilities on a low income can enable them to exercise their social rights and capabilities to live the life they have reasons to value, in the context of an increasingly digitalised service economy. This will offer new insights on ‘care poverty’ and how the EU and national governments may overcome current gaps. The analysis will be based on policy analysis, statistical data and analysis of longitudinal data from life-course interviews with men and women with a low education and low income. (WP7)
  8. Examine the effect and need to adapt social protection policies to the digitalised economy. This will analyse how the introduction of digital technology has been developed by governments for citizens to access public services especially for those who are on benefits, looking for employment or requiring other social services across the life course. The analysis will be based on statistical data from Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and the Special Eurobarometer 460, together with policy analysis, expert interviews, and focus forums. (WP8)
  9. Analyse the achievements and prospects of the EU in promoting upward social convergence in the design and functioning of policies for mitigating risks of poverty and social exclusion, and examine the potential merits or pitfalls of seeking to harmonise social protection policies between the Member States. (WP9)
  10. Produce new knowledge about the mechanisms that facilitate or hamper the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and explore the political dynamics that underpin EU social initiatives and their implementation in the Member States, based on a multilevel policy analysis, focus forums with stakeholders, and expert interviews at the national and EU levels. (WP9)
  11. Offer a set of alternative scenarios on how the European Pillar of Social Rights may enable European citizens to exercise social rights in a more effective way and contribute to stronger social cohesion within and among the Member States, associated countries and in Europe as a whole. Together with stakeholders, formulate evidence-based policy recommendations for how the EU and national governments may move forward in fostering upward social convergence and make the social dimension of EU citizenship more relevant for low-skilled and low income women and men. EUROSHIP will provide new knowledge in support of the Sustainable Development Goals 1 to ‘end poverty in all its forms everywhere’, 8 to ‘promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all’, and 10 to ‘reduce inequality within and among countries’, bearing in mind that ‘leaving nobody behind’ is a key principle in the Agenda 2030 process (A/RES/70/1). (WP10)
  12. Implement a comprehensive impact and dissemination strategy to increase public knowledge and facilitate policy learning about factors at the national and the EU level that may contribute to a cohesive and resilient Europe. As part of the impact and dissemination strategy, outline accessible and readable narratives on the social dimension of EU citizenship to the general public. (WP10)

Overall, a major contribution of EUROSHIP will be to offer a nuanced understanding of the mechanisms behind the observed differences and gaps in social protection for citizens with diverse needs and interests over the life-course.

This will encompass and analysis of social citizenship gaps by gender, labour market status, care obligations and needs, disability, minority ethnic background.

Precise knowledge about these mechanisms is necessary to identify policy solutions that allow the EU and national governments to realize the ambitions reflected in the European Pillar of Social Rights (EC 2015, 2017).

At the micro level, we need a better understanding of how individual citizens and households cope with social risks (such as low education, low income, care obligations or needs), use their scope for action. In general, the social protection policies, structural traits of the labour markets and a country’s economy at the macro level are likely to shape the individual’s scope for making choices and live the life they have reasons to value.

Enforcement mechanisms such as bureaucratic administration, litigation and social dialogue at the meso level further cross-country variations in the gaps of social protection. In order to design effective policies, researchers and policymakers need to understand the dynamics at all three levels (micro, meso, and macro) and the way these levels interact.

The results of this analysis will add to the knowledge base for further implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, Agenda 2030/SDGs, and through this, upward social convergence between Member States.

The overall strategy of EUROSHIP is to examine the present, learn from the past and project the future of social citizenship in a multilevel and territorially diverse system to provide evidence-based policy options to foster a cohesive and socially resilient Europe.

Evidence based on Euroship’s findings was submitted to the House of Lords Public Services Committee and was cited in the Committee’s report ‘Fit for the future? Rethinking the public services workforce‘.  (July 2022)

House of Lords Committee cites Digit associate fellow’s evidence

25 November 2022

The written evidence was submitted for the inquiry 'Designing a public workforce fit for the future'.

In the below videos some of the team members and partners talk about key issues in EUROSHIP:

Video 1:

Video 2: