This Friends of Europe background report is intended as a stimulus to widen the debate about the European Union’s social policy options once a new European Commission and European Parliament are in place, and is a basis for discussion by the 30 or so senior experts who make up the Friends of Europe Social Europe High-Level Group. This High-Level Group of authoritative and representative voices is comprised of social partners, independent experts and high profile political actors.

The report is authored by Frank Vandenbroucke, chair of Friends of Europe’s High-Level Group. It is published as his personal view of the social challenges that confront the EU, and their possible solutions. Frank Vandenbroucke served as Belgium’s former Minister for Employment, Pensions and Social Affairs and as Deputy Prime Minister. Frank is now a Professor at the Universities of Leuven, Antwerp and Amsterdam. Bart Vanhercke, co-author of the report, is Director of the European Social Observatory (OSE) and affiliated at the University of Leuven.

Friends of Europe‘s High-Level Group aims to place the social dimension of EU policymaking in a wider context by bringing together senior experts from a wide range of professional backgrounds and political affiliations. This report hopes to fuel their deliberations, but is not intended as a blueprint for their conclusions.

It is intended that the High-Level Group should deliver a set of policy recommendations in its own report this autumn, in time to help define the EU social policy agenda for the coming five years and beyond.


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