Eurofound publications on the quality of life inside Europe, offer profound insights into the global ‘state of the nation’ on matters that affect the individual, society and economy.
Social Insecurities and Resilience, the latest policy brief to be published, highlights how insecure even those perceived as comfortable and secure can be, across Europe.
Authors: Hans Dubois and Tadas Leončikas
Whether being old and feeling exposed when out after dark, or in full employment but doubting that the employment will continue beyond six months hence, the report offers a defining argument for the deployment of economic and social initiatives that put people, their sense of well being and compassionate economic energy at the heart of government thinking.
It is interesting that even across international borders, within Europe, the similarities in unease and concerns are duplicated across communities, whatever their defining local language.
‘Most of the insecurities reviewed in this policy brief have an economic component but are influenced by other factors too. For instance, perceptions of housing insecurity are influenced by tenant protection law, perceptions of old-age income insecurity are influenced by long-term care provision, and perceptions of healthcare insecurity are influenced by the presence or absence of healthcare coverage’.
The significance of having a ‘secure’ life is widely recognised. The United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us that everyone has the right to ‘security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his (or her) control’ (Article 25).
In the key findings of the report it is stressed that ‘…only 1% of the EU population enjoys the highest level of security in all five types of social insecurity studied in this brief: personal, housing, healthcare, employment and old-age income. If more types were added, there might be nobody in the EU who feels free of any form of social insecurity’.
The five key measures of insecurity that the report comparatively assesses are…
- …personal insecurity – of being personally unsafe (from crime, for instance)
- …housing insecurity – of losing one’s home
- …healthcare insecurity – of being unable to afford healthcare
- …employment insecurity (for those in employment) – of losing one’s job and
being unable to find a new one
- …old-age income insecurity – of not having an adequate income in old age
In their policy summary the report authors point out that government and state actors in the provision of services ‘…should be careful not to underestimate how widespread feelings of social insecurity are, especially more moderate forms. These may be early indicators of problems, so preventative policy-making should try to detect better, more
muted levels, as well as higher levels of insecurity’.
This report attempts a broad assay of community feelings across Europe. No small scoping exercise in itself, but when executed as here, then it provides a wealth of evidence and support for the argument that the social enterprise model should become the defining economic and civitas service provision model.
We would argue!