What is it about?

Bridging Function

Launch of the "Eastern European Social Policy Network" website
The Eastern European Social Policy Network (EESPN), an initiative of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, is a network of researchers, policy advisers and representatives of public authorities working in the field of social welfare policy. The network now launched its website. The EESPN gathers experts with diverse professional, geographical, and academic backgrounds and interests that are united in a common vision for more efficient and equitable social policies in the countries of the EU, Eastern Partnership and EU (potential) candidate countries.
Publication of the Bridge Building Workshop Papers
The publication "Bridge Building: Knowledge Exchange in Social Welfare Policy and Research – Innovative Approaches in Labour Market Policy and Health and Long-Term Care in Eastern Europe" compiles Workshop papers presented at the launch event ‘Building Bridges in Social Welfare Policy in Eastern Europe’ (19 September 2016; Vienna). It provides a snapshot of contents for further discussion and, ideally, for mutual learning among the wider European community. It highlights the findings from scholars and experts when examining innovative approaches implemented in their countries. The publication consists of a total of eight papers: four papers offer insights into research and good practice in the field of labour market policy and four papers provide information on findings from the area of health and long-term care.
Bridge Building Summer School on Social Welfare (10 - 14 July 2017, European Centre, Vienna)
We are delighted to announce the Bridge Building Summer School on Social Welfare taking place from July 10 to July 14 2017 at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research (Berggasse 17, 1090 Vienna). The summer school aims to contribute to more European Cohesion by 1) building capacities of different stakeholders across sectors and countries; 2) providing training on innovative approaches, good practices and up-to-date research results; as well as 3) joint development of relevant research projects. The summer school is co-funded by the Central European Initiative and particularly addresses stakeholders with expertise on Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Please find further information on the summer school here (the application was closed on 7 April 2017).
New Project in Kosovo: Support for better social services for the most vulnerable groups
The project contributes to the effective transformation and decentralization of the social service system in Kosovo’s municipalities. By providing technical assistance, capacity development and a monitoring & evaluation model, the project aims for improved quality, availability and sustainability of local social and community-based service delivery for children and vulnerable people living at social risk. Read more


New Project: EPPIC - Exchanging Prevention Practices on Polydrug Use among Youth in Criminal Justice Systems
The Project “EPPIC - Exchanging Prevention Practices on Polydrug Use among Youth in Criminal Justice Systems” has been launched at the kick-off meeting on 13.-14. March 2017 in Luxembourg. The objectives of this proposal address the 3rd EU Health Programme:
  • To gather knowledge, exchange best practice and identify transferable innovations and principles of good practice on interventions to prevent illicit drug use, the development of polydrug use and the use of new psychoactive drugs (NPS) among vulnerable young people in touch with the criminal justice systems in partner countries (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK);

  • to assess identified initiatives against minimum quality standards in drug demand reduction;

  • to examine the appropriateness of the existing standards within the criminal justice context and to develop a set of guidelines adapted to initiatives aimed at the target group;

  • and to initiate a European knowledge exchange network for practitioners and stakeholders working with young people in the criminal justice system.

Read more
New Project: Reviews of Scientific Evidence and Policies on Nutrition and Physical Activity
As the burden of chronic diseases in European countries has reached considerable proportions, various EU-wide initiatives have been launched in an attempt to address the main risky health behaviours linked to non-communicable diseases. Among them, nutrition and physical activity have been identified as major risk factors for a host of chronic conditions and an important target for prevention.
The project will provide literature reviews on eight areas related to nutrition and physical activity that will be validated by experts. The results will allow DG Health and Food Safety to develop evidence based recommendations and actions that contribute to the promotion of healthy diets and regular physical activity. Read more
SORESI, the tax/benefit microsimulation web application for Austria, updated for 2017
SORESI is now updated to 2017 policy rules (incl. the child care benefit account for births from March 2017 onwards) using the latest input data (SILC 2015 with incomes for 2014 updated to 2017). SORESI is based on the microsimulation model EUROMOD and financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection. It represents a web-based tool for policy-makers and the broader public to simulate policy reforms in the field of social insurance contributions, income tax and monetary benefits and to analyse their impact. For example, budgetary outcomes of reforms as well as effects on poverty rates and income inequality can be studied. The web interface includes different output levels for equivalised household incomes, individual incomes as well as a tool for model households. If you want to try out SORESI yourself, click here! Read more


A blog on the Buurtzorg model and opportunities for Austria
Debates on innovation in long-term care have identified the Buurtzorg model in the Netherlands as an outstanding example for changing the system of home care by a new type of work organization. Indeed, to be transferred to other countries, leadership, skills for working in autonomous groups and working conditions that allow for person-centred care are needed. Kai Leichsenring wrote a brief blog with Heidemarie Staflinger (Chamber of Labour Upper Austria) about potentials and opportunities for reinventing organisations within and beyond the delivery of long-term care in the community.
Contact: Kai Leichsenring
New Research Report: Young persons with health conditions: measures on prevention of disability benefit dependency and activation.
This report contains an overview of selected reforms, experiences and lessons from five countries (Beiträge zur Sozialen Sicherheit # 3/2017 by BSV/Switzerland). Currently it cannot be verified that countries with an increased minimum pension age within the disability insurance system are more successful in terms of work integration. This is one of the results of the comparison of pension-avoiding reforms in five European countries (Denmark, Sweden, Austria, United Kingdom, Netherlands). The results support the assumption for the further development of the disability insurance in Switzerland: the younger a person is the more intensified efforts are needed for integration. In addition, the report shows the accordance of the basic reform targets in the comparison countries and Switzerland. The coordinated integration is promoted, whereas at the same time pensions are only granted if inevitable and as late as possible. The English version of the comparative report, the German version of the comparative report and the national report for Austria (by Michael Fuchs) can be downloaded.
Research note on the "Labour market situation and social inclusion of migrants"
This Research Note prepared by Eszter Zólyomi and Lucia Mytna Kureková as co-authors for the Social Situation Monitor, examines the income of migrants relative to the native-born population and how it changed over 2007-2013. It examines also their access to social protection, in specific, to unemployment benefits and healthcare, and their housing conditions. The second part examines social attitudes of migrants, including their trust in institutions and people, their social values, their voting patterns and other forms of civic and political participation and their perception of the extent of discrimination. Read more
Research Note on "Recent changes in housing policies and their distributional impact across Europe"
This research note of the Social Situation Monitor, with Katarina Hollan and Eszter Zólyomi as co-authors, aims to explore how housing allowances and mortgage interest tax relief have evolved in recent years, against the background of falling disposable incomes and rising housing costs. The analysis focuses on seven EU countries (Greece, Italy, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK), covering a range of housing market developments and housing policy responses. Read more


Cooperation with the Alcohol Policy Network Europe (APN)
On the 23rd of March the European Centre hosted a meeting of the Advisory Group of the Alcohol Policy Network in Europe. APN is a unique platform for persons working in governmental and in non-governmental institutions dedicated to promote public health oriented alcohol policies. APN is a great resource of neutralexpertise and experiences as members have a genuine interest in promoting public health and no association with the alcohol industry. The group discussed the next annual APN Symposium and agreed to develop opportunistic cooperation: interested National Liaison Officials and partners of the European Centre are invited to join APN (membership is free of charge) and call on APN’s expertise and experiences. Contact: Cees Goos
Support for the long-term care reform in Slovenia
The European Centre has accompanied the on-going long-term care reform in Slovenia through knowledge transfer and a range of presentations at stakeholder events over the past few years. On 11 April Kai Leichsenring shared European good practice in ‘Defining, assessing and improving quality in long-term care in the community’ at a workshop with representatives of home care providers and volunteers in Celje. Contact: Kai Leichsenring