Europe & the World

The European Social and Economic Model

Foto: Stephanie Hofschlaeger /

In the current economic situation all European states are facing challenges that make reforms inevitable. Yet several issues – ageing societies, processes of globalization, the transition from industrial to knowledge economies, energy scarcity and climate change among them- have pointed to the urgent need for thorough reforms of the social and economic systems well before the worsening of the economic crisis in September 2008.

The accession of ten new Central and South-East European member states has considerably altered this dynamic within the European Union. The need for reform among the old member states is juxtaposed with the economic desire to catch up on the part of the formerly communist post-transformation societies. In this situation, the question arises whether Europe is either headed for conflict between old and new member states or whether all parties seize the opportunity to create a modernized social and economic model together.

The Progressives Zentrum approached these issues and developed answers to this question by focusing on the two largest member states, Romania and Poland. Our central concern was to talk to the people in Poland and Romania, rather then merely talking about them. We have therefore primarily worked together with young, local experts, who – in consequence of the present study – initiated and invigorated debates on the welfare state in Poland and Romania respectively.


The final published outcome of this research effort is entitled


A Study of the Socio-Economic Developments in the New Member States of the EU: The Cases of Poland and Romania.

Please click HERE to download the German version of the study.


Executive Summary

The key findings and recommendations of the study are summarised in an executive summary.

Please click HERE to download the English version of the Executive Summary.

Ole Frahm

published on

11 March 2009