Socio-Economic Inequality in European Union
|Definitions and measurements of inequality||3|
|Inequality of opportunity||5|
|The European Policy Context||6|
|Development of EU Social and Economic Policies||7|
|The rise in inequality in Europe and its causes||9|
|Fighting socio-economic inequality||11|
1. Inequality tackling has not featured prominently enough on the policy agenda and social policies have not been efficient enough to redress the persistent tendency towards a worsening of inequality, it becomes especially visible in the measures of tackling crisis.
2. Europe, as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, has committed itself to lifting 20 million Europeans out of poverty which is interconnected with poverty and social exclusion: the more unequal a society is, the more widespread poverty and social exclusion tend to be.
3. In EU much attention is currently being paid to the consequences of inequality, such as poverty and lack of social cohesion, and policy interventions generally tend to focus on how to redress these outcomes through tax instruments instead of addressing the underlying causes. However, relying solely on taxing more and spending more can only be a temporary measure, which is not a solution to redress inequality in the long run.
4. To reduce inequality in EU: firstly, the adoption of the euro should no longer depend on attaining narrow inflationary and exchange rate goals since this forces countries to restrain appreciation of the national currency in real terms, which is a key element in catch-up processes. Secondly, enlargement policy should demand of candidate countries, besides the fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria, a minimum level with regard to income and income distribution, since the accession of poor and unequal countries jeopardises social cohesion in the EU. Finally, the EU should make available better and clearer statistical information on inequality in Europe. Eurostat should regularly publish data on relations to inequality and should calculate Gini index.
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