(24 September 2014) – The Bertelsmann Stiftung, one of Germany’s leading independent think tanks, has just released its new Social Justice Index for all 28 EU countries.
The index is based on quantitative and qualitative data collected by the Bertelsmann Stiftung within the framework of its “Sustainable Governance Indicators” project. The Social Justice Index compares the 28 EU states across six dimensions: Poverty prevention, equitable education, labor market access, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health, as well as intergenerational justice. It reveals that EU countries vary considerably in their ability to create a truly inclusive society.
The social imbalance between the affluent northern European states and many southern and eastern European countries has considerably intensified over the course of the crisis. Whilst there still is a high level of social inclusion in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, social injustice in countries such as Greece, Spain, Italy or Hungary has increased.
Alongside the North-South divide, the analysis is particularly critical of the growing imbalance between generations. Young people are much harder hit by social injustice than those who are older. 28% of children and young people are threatened by poverty or social exclusion right across the EU, which is significantly more than in 2009.
For the new EU commission as well as policymakers across Europe, these results illustrate the need for an integrated European strategy that not only stimulates economic progress but also places greater emphasis on improving social justice within the Union.