Welcome to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

The European Centre is a UN-affiliated intergovernmental organization concerned with all aspects of social welfare policy and research. Executive Director is Kai Leichsenring.


New Policy Brief: Juggling family and work - Leaves from work to care informally

New Policy Brief: Juggling family and work - Leaves from work to care informally

In response to a greater need to conciliate care and work for those with sick, disabled or frail family members, some countries in Europe have put regulations in place that allow employees to provide and/or organize care for family members while remaining attached to their workplace. The objectives of this Policy Brief are twofold. Firstly, it aims to draw some lessons for the design of care leave policies, based on an in-depth analysis and international comparison of 22 different care leave regulations in six different countries. Secondly, the regulations are evaluated in view of their success, particularly in terms of take-up rate. Read more

Letter of intent solemnly signed with the Macedonian Minister of Labour and Social Policy

Letter of intent solemnly signed

On 25 August 2016, a Macedonian delegation headed by Mr Dime Spasov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy, visited the European Centre. Minister Spasov declared serious interest of Macedonia in cooperating with the European Centre in the area of social policy and research and signed a Letter of Intent to underline mutually agreed strategies in the context of the bridging function. At this occasion, Mr. Aleksandar Georgievski, Head of Department for European Integration and International Cooperation at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, was nominated as new National Liaison Official (NLO). We wish to express our special thanks to the Austrian Social Attaché, Mr. Harald Fugger (Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection), for his support in organising this visit.

The “Gender and Social Class Inequalities in Active Ageing” project completed

Gender and Social Class Inequalities in Active Ageing

The publication of the report Gender and Social Class Inequalities in Active Ageing: Theory meets Policy marks the completion of our project on bringing inequalities in the active ageing discourse, funded by the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. The report, authored by Stefania Ilinca, Ricardo Rodrigues, Andrea Schmidt and Eszter Zolyomi, highlights a series of remaining gaps between different income and gender groups among older European cohorts and their impact on an individual’s potential to actively age. We propose a framework for the analysis of inequalities in active ageing, and rely on a series of 27 internationally comparable indicators and four European case studies to exemplify. The full report and the executive summary are available here.

Warm welcome to Katarina Hollan

Katarina Hollan joined the team of researchers in the Work and Welfare Unit by 1 September. She holds a Master degree in Economics from the University of Vienna and will strengthen the expertise in quantitative research and micro-simulation of the European Centre. Her research interests are social and economic inequality, welfare states and social security, poverty and social inclusion as well as feminist economics. Contact: hollan@euro.centre.org

Warm welcome to Gudrun Bauer

Gudrun Bauer

Gudrun Bauer joined the European Centre on 1 September as a researcher in the Health & Care Unit to contribute with her knowledge and expertise in long-term care and quality development as well as on aging and labour migration. Gudrun holds a doctorate in Social and Economic Sciences from the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Institute of Social Policy) as well as a Master in Nursing Sciences from the University of Vienna. She has worked as a Research fellow at the University of Vienna (Department of Nursing Science) where she will still finish a project over the next few months before entering into a full-time assignment. Contact: bauer@euro.centre.org

Social Innovation as a chance for ageing societies?

Buchcover: Neu! Besser! Billiger!

Whether it’s caring for older people, taking care of refugees or educating children: Social innovation has become a buzzword and has become indispensable in any application for public funding. But what is social innovation about? Is social innovation more than hollow words? Gudrun Bauer addresses the question “Is social innovation a chance to overcome the challenges of an ageing society?” in the now published volume "Neu! Besser! Billiger! Soziale Innovation als leeres Versprechen?" ('New! Better! Cheaper! Social Innovation as empty words?') edited in German by Katharina Meichenitsch, Michaela Neumayr and Martin Schenk. Contact: Gudrun Bauer

Study on persons not covered by health insurance in Austria

In a project funded by the Umbrella Organisation of the Austrian Social Insurance Institutions (Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger), Michael Fuchs, Katarina Hollan and Martin Schenk (Diakonie Österreich) will analyse the extent, socio-demographic characteristics, causes and coping strategies of persons not covered by health insurance in Austria. For the project both quantitative and qualitative methods will be used. A former study on the topic was carried out in 2002/03 – please view the Summary.

Additional countries entered into the Memorandum of Understanding

In order to improve European cohesion and to contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the European Centre has established further cooperation with Eastern European countries. Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Serbian Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, another MoU was now signed with the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour. Other countries' ministries are soon to follow, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Macedonia. In its ‘Bridge building function’ with Eastern European countries the European Centre provides governments, international institutions, research institutes and civil society organizations with relevant know-how and advice for establishing or improving structures in the area of social welfare policies, based on expertise drawn from the European Centre's empirical and comparative cross-national research.

Martin Kahanec: The Myths and Veracities of the European Migration Challenge

Europe has been going through multiple challenges, including aging populations, skill shortages, economic recession and financial crisis, and the current migration crisis. The ensuing complexities have confused many key actors, including the general public and voters, as to their perspectives on the role of labor mobility for European societies and economies. In this International Seminar Martin Kahanec will shed light on some of the key questions asked in the migration debate: Do migrants take our jobs and welfare? Are they grease or sand in the wheels of European economies? And how many migrants come due to the magnetism of welfare provisions in receiving countries? Read more

Presentation at the Conference of the European Association of Health Economics

Ricardo Rodrigues presented findings from ongoing research – with Stefania Ilinca and Andrea Schmidt – on equity in long-term care in Europe at the Conference of the European Association of Health Economics, in Hamburg on 15 July. The presentation titled “Measures of economic status and equity effects in the use of long-term care in Europe: ranking by income versus wealth”, showed that using wealth (e.g. house ownership) over income may impact on the analysis of equity in the use of different types of long-term care by older people in Europe. The presentation is available on request from the author.

New Project: Study on the Social Dimension of the EU

The Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection has commissioned the European Centre to identify key thematic areas that could be underpinned by benchmarking processes if further policy convergence took place to strengthen the social dimension of the EU. The study will suggest potential indicators for benchmarking and will discuss their pros and cons as well as potential accompanying measures by mutual learning from good practice. A final report will be delivered by the end of November 2016. Contact: Anette Scoppetta

More than 1000 participants at the International Conference for Integrated Care


The 16th Conference of the research community focusing on issues of integrated care took place from 23 to 25 May in Barcelona. While still a decade ago this community gathered a small number of experts only, this year there were more than 1,000 delegates, underlining the huge and growing interest in ‘Integrated Care’ and the exchange of experiences across the globe. Kai Leichsenring was among the more than 90 speakers and presented results of the European Centre’s recent study on ‘Integrated Care, Choice and Competition’. During the conference he also gave an interview to outline the European Centre’s expertise and long-standing engagement related to the range of issues in integrating health and social care. Contact: Kai Leichsenring.

First Memorandum of Understanding signed by Serbia


On 2 June, Dr. Nenad Ivanisevic, Secretary of State for International Affairs in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Veterans Affairs of the Republic of Serbia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, represented by its Executive Director Kai Leichsenring. This agreement has been a result of the new ‘Bridge-building’ focus of the European Centre in close cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection. While similar activities are under way in a number of pre-accession countries in Eastern Europe, this was the first official document signed to underline the intention of both parties to collaborate more systematically in all areas of social welfare policy, in particular with a view to knowledge exchange and mutually-agreed research and development projects. In this context we also welcome Ms Anja Javor, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Veterans Affairs, as the new National Liaison Official for Serbia. Contact: Kai Leichsenring