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Combating Poverty in Europe: Re-organising Active Inclusion through Participatory and Integrated Modes of Multilevel Governance

Final Report Summary - COPE (Combating Poverty in Europe: Re-organising Active Inclusion through Participatory and Integrated Modes of Multilevel Governance)

Executive Summary:
Against the background of the formerly dominance of passive benefits, COPE’s research shows clearly that active benefits like employment and social services have been increasingly integrated in minimum income schemes for working-age persons. Apart from existing typologies of minimum income and social assistance schemes that focus on (passive) minimum income benefits, we revealed two distinct types of minimum income provision across the COPE countries that also consider the integration of social and employment services. First, there is the minimum income provision as “national employment regulation” (UK, Germany) with a central regulation at the national level, high emphasis on active labour market policies and a limited scope for intra-national variation. This type is well suited to provide minimum income protection to all poor people. Second, minimum income provision is designed as a “local social regulation” (Italy, Poland, Sweden) with a local financing and organisation leaving more leeway for local preferences. This type shows a great local variation of providing benefits and services. With regard to possible influences of EU anti-poverty policies on the national organisation of cooperation and service integration, COPE could observe that the introduction of the Europe2020 strategy led – in some countries – to a higher involvement of different stakeholders as compared to the Lisbon-strategy period. This was visible in Germany, Poland and to some extent also in Italy. On the other hand, in the UK and in Sweden, the participation of especially NGOs and anti-poverty groups has been diminished. Furthermore, COPE’s research in five post-industrialist cities (Dortmund/Germany, Glasgow/UK, Radom/Poland, Malmö/Sweden and Turin/Italy) revealed that due to the commonly experienced structural change there is a great awareness of the need and a high willingness to develop local policies that aim at combating poverty and unemployment. As a result, coordination among different types of actors and organisations works quite smoothly in all these five selected cities.
The findings on the effects of Active Inclusion policies on the life courses of individuals showed that in all local entities under study (i.e. Radom, Glasgow, Turin, Malmö and Dortmund), recipients judged the services and information provided by the welfare institutions as not integrated and often provided by too many different organisations. Despite this overall shared perspective across five cities, there were also crucial differences in the perceptions of claimants. In contrast to MIP beneficiaries in Radom who had to “move the papers” from one institution to the other, claimants in Dortmund, where services are provided by a one-stop-shop, perceived services as more integrated. However, in the perspective of the recipients, the level of integration of services as such was not a guarantor of the effectiveness of anti-poverty policies, whereas the level of personalisation was. The provision of services targeted to individual needs, especially if they were discretionary, always required a strong engagement of the caseworkers. This fostered a trustful relationship with and the cooperation of the claimants. The involvement of social workers, which differed among the five cities in accordance with the above-mentioned polar types (National Employment Regulation vs. Local Social Regulation), made such an engagement more likely in systems that come close to Local Social Regulation (such as Sweden, Poland and Italy) – despite a scheme-inherent focus on service integration in systems that lean towards National Employment Regulation (such as the UK and Germany). However, successful individual support is of course also strongly influenced by financial and staff resources, both of which are often lacking in all types of systems.

Project Context and Objectives:
The FP7 research project COPE – “Combating Poverty in Europe: Re-organising Active Inclusion through Participatory and Integrated Modes of Multilevel Governance” – analysed trends of poverty and social exclusion in Europe, and examined the dynamics of minimum income protection policies that potentially help to alleviate the risk of poverty in Europe. A focus was put on the situation of single parents, long-term unemployed and working poor, who face particularly high risks of poverty and social exclusion. The project investigated to what extent minimum income policies are important as a last resort social security net for these three target groups and in what sense active inclusion policies protect these groups effectively from suffering from poverty and social exclusion. Active inclusion can be understood as the combination of sufficient income provision, active labour market policies (ALMP) and an easy access to quality services. Thus, this concept suggests integrating social and employment policy in order to combat poverty and multiple barriers to employment in a comprehensive way. The integration of these different pillars is necessary as employment services are often regulated at the national level, while social services are mainly developed and provided at the local level. Thus, developing and providing active inclusion policies requires a close coordination between various social policy fields (benefit provision, training, job placement, family and care, drug and debt counselling), between different political levels (national, regional, local, European) and between various types of organisations (private, public, NGOs).

Building on these considerations, the overall research question of COPE was:
In the development and provision of active inclusion policies, how do public, private and nongovernmental actors in a welfare state deal with the challenges raised by the need for closer cooperation between different political levels (European, national, regional and local) involving all relevant stakeholders (public, private, organised civil society and citizens) across the boundaries of formerly separated societal fields (social, employment and economic policy)?
In the first project period, COPE empirically analysed recent patterns of (income) poverty and social exclusion across Europe with special regard to the three target groups. In addition, a comprehensive theoretical examination of poverty and social exclusion concepts was provided and the project teams analysed and compared the dynamics of national level policy reforms in the area of active inclusion, namely reforms affecting such policies that specify the adequacy of minimum income benefits, the provision of activation measures as well as the organisation of access to social services. The main achievements from this period were reported in the first periodic reports.
In the second period of the project, one focus of COPE laid on the European dimension of Active Inclusion policies and their impact on and relationship to national schemes. Furthermore, the impact of these policies and interventions on the individually perceived situation of most vulnerable groups and their life courses was studied.

• In WP 2 COPE aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the theoretical bases of minimum income schemes in Europe. In the first project period, the work package contributed by generating theoretical knowledge on poverty, which served as a basis for the empirical work packages. In the second project period, WP2 concluded the project with a synthesis of the policies for combating poverty against the backdrop of theoretical approaches. In this context, WP 2 aimed at analysing how the five selected EU countries deal at different territorial levels with the challenges of resource-based and capability-oriented concepts of poverty and social exclusion. WP2 was set out to summarise the empirical results of the respective work packages and describe how minimum income schemes in a multilevel system face the challenges of financial poverty, non-monetary deprivation and involvement of the beneficiaries. The research in WP 2 was co-ordinated and conducted by HiOA-NOVA (formerly: NOVA). The research team at HiOA-NOVA in Oslo had the task to synthesise the results of the work packages focusing on the European, national, local and individual level of minimum income schemes (WP 4-7) by focusing on the question of how these different governance levels deal with the different practical requirements of policies which focus on the reduction of financial poverty and deprivation, social inclusion and the freedom to choose.
• The core aim of WP3 was to provide a multi-dimensional analysis of poverty and social exclusion in Europe, by making use of micro data. The research in this work package was split into three sub-objectives:
a. Firstly, providing a multidimensional overview of recent patterns of (income) poverty and social exclusion in the EU member states.
b. Secondly, providing a quantitative basis for the analysis of the situation of the most vulnerable target groups.
c. Finally, describing the influence of regional and national contextual factors on poverty and social exclusion in Europe.
• WP4 focused on the “Europeanisation” of policy conceptualisation and delivery processes in the multilevel governance of minimum income schemes. The starting point was the acknowledgment that the European framework for achieving targets in the field of social (and employment) policies has significantly changed in recent years. While in the period 2000-2009 the EU developed an innovative approach for coordinating Member States’ policies within the broader Lisbon Strategy – mainly through the OMC, the EES and the European Social Fund (ESF) – since 2009 the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty and the formulation of the “Europe2020” strategy have updated as well as significantly re-designed both the governance framework and substantive objectives for social inclusion policies in the European multilevel architecture. The first aim of WP4 research was therefore to analyse the new EU policy tool-kit in the field as well as its differences compared with the pre-“Europe2020” setting. Secondly, WP4 set out to focuse on the mechanisms by which EU social and employment policy tools, mutual learning processes and resources promote a multilevel governance of minimum income programmes for the poor. This primarily implied a careful reconstruction of the new supranational policy and institutional arrangement, emerging from the interaction between the new EU strategic objectives and governance edifice – especially the European Platform Against Poverty and Social Exclusion (EPAP) aimed to provide effective support to policy coordination and mutual learning (COM(2010)758) – and pre-existing programmes – namely, the OMC. Third, WP4 planned to analyse how European programmes and processes contribute to programmatic and organisational reforms of active inclusion policy at the national and local level, particularly focusing on the usages of European resources by political actors and major stakeholders. The final step should consist of a comparison between the two periods, i.e. before and after Europe2020, in order to single out the most significant changes in the multilevel governance of minimum income schemes.
• In WP 5, the COPE agenda was to analyse how different countries cope with the challenge of a multi-dimensional, multilevel and multi-stakeholder approach, which affects European-national-local approaches of an integrated and participatory active inclusion policy. As COPE’s analysis concentrated on the implications national policy procedures have on programmatic orientation and organisational issues of minimum income schemes, it fills a gap in the research on minimum income programmes, which has so far only concentrated on comparing conditions of monetary provision. The two main sub-objectives were:
a. Firstly, with regard to minimum income schemes for the three target groups WP 5 addressed how the relevant ministries (social, labour, education, family), the different political levels (national, regional, local) and important actors (public, private and organised civil society) are coordinated at the national level and how reforms for integrated and participatory active inclusion policy are developed. Consequently, the objective was to explain the different national reform paths for both programmatic and organisational renewal in the five countries involved in the project, representing distinct combinations of these patterns of coordination, cooperation and partnership in the field of minimum income schemes.
b. Secondly, in the attempt to compare European-national-local governance models of minimum income schemes in Europe, this WP analysed the national institutional context of policies and organisational instruments (marketisation, decentralisation and contractualisation) structuring minimum income schemes for lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor.
• The WP6 in the COPE project aimed to analyse the role of the local level in a multilevel governance system of minimum income schemes for lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor. The organisation of minimum income schemes reserves in most European countries an important role for the local arena in the provision of support to poor persons. The focal point of a set of local case studies was to analyse the specific role of the local agencies in regulating the programmatic and organisational dimension of minimum income schemes. To identify local implementation processes in a multilevel system of governance of minimum income support, WP 6 planned to execute the following charges: First, the tasks of local agencies responsible for the provision of minimum income schemes for lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor were analysed. Secondly, in the attempt to compare European-national-local governance models of minimum income schemes in Europe, this WP set out to analyse the local implementation processes of policies and organisational instruments (marketization, decentralisation and contractualisation) structuring minimum income schemes for lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor.
• The objective of WP 7 was to analyse the impact of welfare interventions on life-courses of deprived groups. Situations of poverty often result from cumulating barriers against participation in the labour market and society – such as low level of education and skills, problems of family care, health problems, difficult housing situation, etc. This can translate into “poverty careers”, meaning labour market inactivity or long-term unemployment, impoverishment and resignation towards democracy and society. Thus, for analysing active inclusion of groups with multiple disadvantages, a life-course perspective is important to assess the manner in which policies and services have tackled these culminated risks of poverty (e.g. inadequate education and professional skills, lack of sufficient means of social protection, marriage breakdown, immigrant background, etc.) and how they have impacted, reacted to and shaped the life courses of individuals. Research in WP 7 therefore set out to execute the following target: On the basis of narrative interviews, the contribution of local active inclusion policy to social inclusion was to be analysed for women and young people with multiple disadvantages dependent on minimum income schemes. The plan was to focus especially on lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor.
Project Results:
The research results of the six empirical work packages yielded several exploitable foregrounds such as interview transcripts, a document analysis and case studies that provide a valuable basis for scientific and policy-related publications, not only during the project period but also beyond. Below, an overview of the main research results, exploitable foregrounds, and hitherto realised peer-reviewed scientific publications of COPE is given.

In the first project period, WP2 had the task of describing the state of the art in the field of poverty, deprivation and social exclusion in Europe. In the second reporting period, the work in WP2 dealt with preparing the final synthesis and integration of the main results from the COPE project. As for the first objective (state of the art), the main findings can be summarised as following:
• Approaches to impoverishment, disempowerment and exclusion in different ways may be criticised for leading to arbitrary forms of operationalisation or being characterised by vagueness or indeterminism impeding the effective use of these approaches as basis for systematic empirical investigation or evaluation of achievements. To the extent that policymakers, the media or general public perceive or sense such weaknesses it will undermine the credibility not only of research or empirical monitoring, but also of policy measures to combat or mitigate problems of poverty, disempowerment or social exclusion.
• This kind of criticism may also be directed towards the indicators or targets adopted by the Commission or through common agreement among representatives of Member State governments. Similarly, the three indicators or targets chosen by the Social Protection Committee of the Council (2010) in the context of Europe 2020 (relative poverty, material deprivation and work intensity) appear largely to be the result of a political compromise or attempt to accommodate contrasting preferences and priorities between representatives from different Member State governments.
• Even if compromises may be necessary in European politics, the results may still be criticised for being somewhat arbitrary and less than convincing as effective instruments for reaching the ambitious overall goals of Europe 2020 and promoting transparency about the process. Similarly, it is questionable whether the targets are operational, as the Commission appears not to have been able to assess the total achievement based on all the national targets and estimate their contribution to the overall EU target: Different indicators have been used, undermining not only transparency but the very objective of the target – to drive delivery.
• Support for these conclusions can also be found in the 2011 report of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion: Among the Network’s conclusions was the opinion that “where social inclusion goals are outlined, they are all too often lacking in substance and vague, and fail to exploit the potential benefits of synergies between different policies”. The Network also found that most Member States failed to meet the need for high quality, affordable and sustainable services. Finally the Network regarded many of the targets of Member States as lacking clarity and insufficiently ambitious if the overall European 2020 targets are to be met.
• Finally, there are reasons to ask whether it would be more helpful if the EU developed and adopted a model of multidimensional social and economic disadvantage. Such a model might allow a better overall assessment of changes in poverty and social exclusion than the current indicators, a more balanced coverage of impoverishment, disempowerment and exclusion dimensions within one model, and enabling more meaningful comparisons of achievements and developments across Member States and for the Union as a whole. Preferably this kind of model should be dynamic in order to give basis for inferences about causal relationships, but this would increase the complexity of the model. Interestingly, the EU is currently developing a social performance indicator, which through a multidimensional dashboard of indicators is meant to measure performance on the social objectives.
The second task in WP2 (synthesising and integrating results) led to the following main findings:
• There was a gap between recent European-level policy developments and various EU-resources made available to Member States on the one hand and the policy approaches actually adopted by the five Member States under study and the tendency of informants interviewed in these countries to play down or dismiss the significance of European-level resources on the other hand.
• To the extent that differences emerged between the five countries, Member States with well-established provisions to combat poverty and enhance the employment prospects of poor people was less responsive to the EU’s Active Inclusion approach and less prepared to acknowledge the value of European resources than Member States where pre-existing minimum income benefits and active measures were more limited. Broadly speaking, the degree of joint efforts between actors at the same level in combating poverty was more limited than envisaged in the Active Inclusion approach.
• The financial crisis building up from 2008 was not a favourable context for a full adoption of the Active Inclusion approach since Member State governments tended to perceive it as entailing increased public spending and more complex interagency interaction in a situation where they had to cut spending, streamline structures of governance and tighten existing provisions.
• The limited acknowledgement or even denial of the potential or actual gains of drawing on European-level resources probably relates to an urge to stress national sovereignty and resist undue EU influence over policies and provisions at national and subnational levels.

According to the core aim of this work package, the research examined the socio-economic situation of long-term unemployed, lone mothers and working poor by looking at the influences of a multi-level policy setting. The over-all result of the analyses in the framework of WP3 is, that both the living circumstances of lone parents and working poor as well as the precarious situation of deprived persons or households cannot be explained comprehensively by looking only at individual characteristics or special household features. The institutional country-level setting, that is employment and welfare regimes and family polices, also play a crucial explanatory role over and above what is explained on the micro-level. These overall results are based on three research papers which were produced in the framework of WP3.
A first paper on “In-Work Poverty in Europe” examines the extent, structure and causal mechanisms of this phenomenon. The research question is: “How much of the extent of in-work poverty is explained by the institutional country-level setting of the labour market and welfare state related polices, especially family policies, and transfers and benefits and how does this pattern vary across European countries?” One of the main findings was that over and above what is explained by the micro-level characteristics, it is mainly the labour market setting that has a decisive influence on explaining in-work poverty patterns in Europe.
The situation of lone parents in Europe is analysed in a paper that deals with the question: “Can Work-Family Policies reduce the poverty gap between one-parent and two-parent households?” Overall, the results indicate that work-family policies are not sufficient to reduce the poverty gap between one-parent and two-parent households, or between single-mother and single-father households.
A third WP3 paper deals with patterns of deprivation in Europe. This paper on “Material Deprivation – an Analysis of cross - country Differences and European Convergence” examines the impact of relative and absolute income measures on material deprivation and the mediation these explanatory factors receive through the national context. The core finding of this paper is that the extent of deprivation is especially high in countries that exhibit a pronounced social stratification.

The research conducted in WP4 led to important results regarding both the supranational and the national dimension of the Europe2020 anti-poverty arena and the “Peer review” meetings.

EU’s social and economic/fiscal dimensions have become further tightly intertwined within the Europe 2020 framework and its governance arm – the European Semester. In addition, the setting of the first quantitative (anti-)poverty target might represent a quantum leap in multilevel social governance. By contrast, the dismantlement of the main elements of the Social OMC represented a step back compared to the Lisbon phase. Against such backdrop, the research confirmed that the launch of the novel overarching strategy has represented discontinuity for the European anti-poverty strategies.
The analysis at the supranational level revealed that the implementation – crucial, in case of “soft” processes of policy coordination – of the Europe 2020 anti-poverty component in the first three cycles 2011-13 differed in two subsequent periods: a difficult start in 2011-12, with anti-poverty concerns virtually non-existent in the multilevel process of policy coordination, was followed by several initiatives by both EU politico-institutional actors and the main supranational stakeholders aimed to reinvigorate the anti-poverty dimension after the mid-2012.
Both contingent and structural factors help understand the weak start as well as the later reinforcement of Europe 2020 in the field of poverty. In the first period, the crucial factors constraining the emergence of a proper multilevel and multi-stakeholder anti-poverty arena were: i) economic/sovereign debt crises, ii) the weaknesses of the Europe 2020 social-governance architecture which made power relationships within the European Commission even more unbalanced in favor of more “economically sensitive” DGs, such as ECFIN. These factors severely limited EU bodies’ ability to effectively steer and coordinate anti-poverty initiatives in a multi-level and multi-stakeholder arena. Since 2012, growing “problem pressures” and the evanescence of the European social dimension have prompted a reaction by the most “socially sensitive” supranational actors with the aim support the fight against poverty/social exclusion and to tackle the social consequences of both the crises and austerity measures themselves. Stakeholder mobilization went hand in hand with initiatives by some European politico-institutional actors aimed to reinforce the Europe 2020 anti-poverty dimension by increasing the steering and monitoring capacity of EU institutions while reinforcing multilevel interaction. The main initiatives included: i) An attempt to re-launch the Social OMC (2012); ii) the Social Investment Package (2013); iii) the Communication to strengthen the social dimension of the EMU (2013); iv) strengthened (social) monitoring tools. Even more important: since 2012, the AGS made explicit reference to the social dimension and the need to tackle the social consequences of the crisis and the usage of Country Specific Recommendations on poverty increased already in 2012, and further in 2013 and 2014.
All in all, when considering the process dimension, the developments outlined above reveal the gradual emergence of a visible multilevel and multi-stakeholder arena to fight poverty and social exclusion within the Europe 2020 overarching framework. In this respect, the introduction of “politico-institutional markers” such as the poverty target among the ten overarching goals of Europe 2020 has been crucial insofar it has resulted in increased political salience of the poverty issue at the supranational level, thus legitimizing actors’ mobilization. This significantly differs from dynamics which characterized the social inclusion OMC in the Lisbon period and it may potentially affect the unfinished governance architecture of the Europe 2020 social dimension as well as the effectiveness of the current EU anti-poverty tool-kit by mobilizing all relevant actors and levels of government as well as by favoring coordination across the policy spectrum.
Ah the national level, the analysis of the implementation of the Europe 2020 anti-poverty component in the five COPE countries confirmed the expectation that the launch of the post-Lisbon supranational strategy represented - despite its weak governance structure - a critical juncture for the social dimension of the EU. The Europe 2020 strategy has certainly contributed to increase the political relevance of poverty and anti-poverty policies at the domestic level, especially in the genetic phase and/or during the first annual cycle. However, the analysis of the effects along the substantive and the procedural dimensions produced by the implementation of the EU’s anti-poverty strategy in the five selected Member States significant cross-country variation, and national reactions vis à vis the introduction of the anti-poverty target have varied markedly. A main tension has emerged along the dimension which may be called “supranational intrusiveness vs national sovereignty/autonomy”. These developments represent a novelty when compared to the OMC-Lisbon phase. In Germany, Sweden and the UK, national governments prompted a relatively lively political debate with the aim to offset the disruptive potential of the Europe 2020 quantified poverty target as far as the usual repartition of social competences – or at least the balance of power - between the EU and the Member States is concerned. Tackling perceived supranational “intrusion” in domestic policymaking also set the stage for the domestic implementation of Europe 2020 in the field of poverty. Governments reframed and re-interpreted the European objectives in accordance with their orientations and national policies to combat poverty and social exclusion, while they did not define national anti-poverty targets in accordance with the indicators agreed at the EU level. Additionally, at least in Sweden and the UK, stakeholder and subnational unit participation in the process was drastically limited and policy integration was absent, while participation increased in Germany after 2012. Differently, in Italy and Poland, the strategy implementation came along with a more cooperative attitude by national administrations and the national-supranational competence clash did not display. Government set national targets in accordance with agreed common indicators and, especially in the Polish case, effects along the participation and integration dimensions were more evident through the establishment of an ad hoc body, the Team for Europe 2020.
To explain such substantial variation, we argue that different constellations of domestic factors strongly affected the balance of power in these supranational-national interactions, prompting the activation of the “supranational vs. national” line of tension and shaping the implementation of the Europe 2020 anti-poverty strategy at the national level. The three countries (Germany, Sweden and the UK) with either consolidated anti-poverty policy legacies or recent commitments to novel paradigms in the field were in a stronger positions vis-à-vis the EU. Hence, these factors posed constraints to the effective implementation of the Europe 2020 anti-poverty strategy. By contrast, the absence of a well-established anti-poverty policy legacy and the relevance of EU funds for social inclusion strategies both in Poland and Italy induced governments to play the “good pupil game” by complying with EU’s requests and smoothly implementing the Europ2020 anti-poverty strategy.

The peer review meetings
The purpose of the analysis was to study how multi-level and multi-stakeholder interactions develop in the context of ‘soft processes’ policy coordination mechanisms such as the peer review meetings, and to shed light on their effects. In fact peer reviews have the potential to generate both ‘instrumental’ and ‘social’ policy learning dynamics (May 1992), thus possibly contributing to changes in the setting of policy instruments, the instruments themselves, and policy goals.
Five “meetings” held between 2009 and 2011 with the aim to answer four main questions: 1) What is possible to learn during peer reviews?; 2) Who learns and why?; 3) How do learning dynamics actually develop during the meetings?; 4) What are the outcomes of the meetings at both the EU and national levels?
The peer reviews selected for this study concerned different kinds of practices related to the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The practices selected for the meetings were in line with (and relevant for) EU actions, discourses and priorities in the domain of the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
As for the actual development of the meetings, their agendas depended on host countries’ motivations and expectations, but, even if the duration of the seminars was rather short (1.5 days), the amount of time devoted to the interventions of the various participants was generally assessed satisfactory.
A close look at the ‘tenor’ of discussions in the selected meetings shows that the debates were ‘fairly open’: although harsh criticisms of the practices under review were avoided, divergences and disagreements often emerged. According to the interviewees, the selected meetings met the participants’ prior expectations, the only exception being the peer review on the ‘City Strategy’ organised by the UK in 2009, where learning opportunities for the host country were described as almost null by some of the members of the host country delegation. The British case well illustrates that the organisational phase preceding the peer review is of key importance for having a high-quality meeting.
As regards the outcomes of the meetings, the DG Employment website is the main tool for disseminating information. Evidence of EU-level usage of the findings of the peer reviews also emerged from the research. References to specific meetings, in fact, were found in EC and SPC documents and activities. However, dissemination of the findings of the peer review exercise at the EU level is not systematic and could be further improved – for example, by taking the ‘Mutual Learning Programme’ of the European Employment Strategy as a model. Finally, the findings of this research show that a certain amount of networking developed from peer reviews. However, it mainly concerned the experts attending the meeting, while further contacts among governments’ representatives after the meetings are rare.
As regards the outcomes of the meetings at the domestic level, evidence from four of the countries under scrutiny (UK, PL, S, D) reveals that learning from the peer reviews takes place at the individual level: that is, it concerns countries’ representatives who generally acquire the ‘improved understanding of policies and practices implemented in the other Member States’. However, those cognitive effects rarely spill over into the national administrations, and they never reach nationwide policy debates.
This said, in two cases (France and Italy) some consequences of the peer reviews extending beyond cognitive effects – and closer to a sort of ‘transfer’ of the knowledge acquired during the meeting to domestic policies – have been found. Looking at the features of the French and Italian cases, it is possible to identify three factors which probably accounted for those outcomes. First, the timing: in both cases, national reform processes were on-going at the time of the peer reviews, which probably made domestic contexts more receptive to stimuli from the meetings. The second factor concerns the contents and the organisational features peer reviews: in both cases the topics dealt with during the meetings largely corresponded to the issues to be addressed in the domestic reforms of the French parenting support policies and of the Italian ISEE. Finally, the profile of the country delegates was a key factor: both the French and the Italian delegates had the right motives for attending the meetings and the necessary know-how to recognise information potentially useful for the domestic reform process, while their roles within national administrations enabled them to disseminate knowledge acquired during the peer reviews in the decision-making venues (respectively, the National Parenting Support Committee and the Ministerial working group on the reform of the ISEE). Hence, even without broad dissemination of information acquired during the peer reviews, it was possible to make direct use of the knowledge acquired in the on-going reform process.

The first set of results from the research relate to the dynamics of minimum income protection/active inclusion reform (longitudinal perspective). Based on the existing literature, the analytical framework for the research identified three clusters of variables - political, policy and institutional-organisational - that could theoretically be expected to mediate the translation of common social and economic problem pressures bearing on minimum income provision for people of working age into policy responses in different national contexts. The research found that classical left-right political conflicts did not appear to be terribly significant factors in minimum income protection reform debates. However, where other social cleavages – notably church-state and centre-periphery cleavages – are important for political competition (as in Italy (both) and to a lesser extent Germany (both) and the UK (centre-periphery)), party politics has played a more significant role in minimum income reform, as the balance between secular and traditional religious conceptions of poverty, on the one hand, and between central and local responsibilities for anti-poverty policy, on the other, are often at the centre of reform efforts. In relation to the controversy in the literature as to how varying welfare state contexts impact on the politics of minimum income reform, the research found that in the most encompassing and universal welfare state contexts (in this project, Sweden) minimum income protection may often be a victim of political neglect, with reformist activity focusing more on higher tiers of the welfare state. By contrast, provided rights to minimum income protection are already solidly institutionalised (as, in this project, in Germany, the UK and to some degree Poland) minimum income protection may often be subject to more attention in contexts where higher-tiers of the welfare system are less encompassing, and caseloads of working-age minimum income provision are by consequence large. Other inherited variations in minimum income provision (such as e.g. the categorical differentiation of minimum income rights) appear to be less important in shaping reforms than might be imagined, with these pre-existing policies often being problematized, rather than simply reproduced, in contemporary reforms (e.g. the re-working of benefit categories in the UK with the introduction of Universal Credit). The most significant factor shaping (and often constraining) reforms across all the cases was central-local relations. In some cases (Germany, Italy) the legality of minimum income reforms which cut across central/federal and regional/municipal competencies was challenged by Constitutional Courts, while in others (Poland and the UK) the poor quality of relationships between different tiers of government hindered attempts at policy coordination. In Sweden, an apparent political unwillingness to question existing divisions of responsibility for minimum income and related policy fields across different levels of government prevented reform agendas from being clearly articulated, despite evidence of substantial deficits in policy coordination.
The second set of results from the research relate to the main varieties of contemporary approaches to minimum income provision across the cases, and their functional strengths and weaknesses from an active inclusion perspective (cross-sectional perspective). Focused only on cash benefit structures, existing descriptive empirical comparisons of minimum income provisions have identified a large number of minimum income or social assistance ‘regimes’ in the European context. Departing from a broader policy focus that also includes the articulation of cash benefits with labour market support and the provision of enabling services, and using an approach to typological analysis based not on empirical clustering but on the construction of empirically-grounded theoretical ideal types, this research by contrast suggests that the minimum income systems of European countries approximate to one of two broad approaches to minimum income provision. In the first type (“national employment regulation”) the key function of minimum income protection is to support the functioning of the labour market by protecting individuals against typical labour market risks. This approach breaks definitively with the distinction between policies for workers (Arbeiterpoltik) and policies for the poor (Armenpolitik). Minimum income protection is in this approach national in its financing and organisation, leaving very limited scope for intra-national variation, and has strong links to active labour market policy, normally being delivered through the institutions and agents of the PES on the basis of strong claimant contractualisation. The situation of claimants being understood in relation their labour market position rather than their social characteristics, there is no role in this approach for social work professionals in the management of claimants or administration of benefits. In the second type (“local social regulation”) the role of minimum income protection is to uphold local social order by supporting those whose individual-personal circumstances and situation mean that they cannot support themselves or their families and participate in community life. These systems tend to be locally financed and organised, and there is considerable scope for intra-national variation that reflects the different preferences of local communities. Assessing the needs and circumstances of individuals will be a key part of benefit administration, which will therefore be performed by or with the support of social work professionals, who have scope for discretion in granting cash benefits and referring individuals to other services based on their professional assessment of their needs and situation. While some or even many claimants of these benefits may be in precarious situations on the labour market, it is not assumed that this is the key reason for their claiming (or the public authorities providing) minimum income benefits, and links to active labour market policy and the PES are thus weak and unsystematic and claimant contractualisation limited.
Based on systematic comparison across some 12 discrete dimensions of minimum income provision, the research revealed that the COPE countries with more institutionalised minimum income protection systems tends to approximate closely either to the national employment regulation (Germany, UK) or the local social regulation (Poland, Sweden) types of minimum income provision. Importantly these are in essence different types of policy, with the implication that evaluating them with respect to common performance indicators or criteria to some extent fails to sufficiently acknowledge the diversity of aims and objectives that still inform contemporary minimum income protection systems in Europe. European-level policy recommendations in the field of minimum income protection should arguably be more sensitive to the rather different aims and rationales of existing systems of provision.
This qualification notwithstanding, the WP5 research revealed the German and British minimum income systems (of the ‘national employment regulation’ type) are better suited to providing clear and enforceable guarantees of minimum income protection to all poor people of working age across the national territory, as well as ensuring relatively standardised approaches to articulating benefit provision with service support. The Polish and Swedish cases (of the ‘local social regulation’ type) manifest much more scope for intra-national variation in benefits, and service provision is largely reliant on the desire and ability of local level policy actors to forge effective cooperation across relevant agencies. This is even truer in Italy, where a national last-resort safety net is still missing and where there is no articulated national policy for combating poverty among people of working age. However, across all cases and both types of minimum income provision the research revealed serious vertical (across levels of government) and horizontal (across relevant government ministries and between public and private actors) coordination deficits, both at the level of policy design and at the level of policy implementation. In the German and British cases this deficit largely concerns coordination with social services provision, which is marginalised by a largely ‘work-first’ conception of activation and complicated by social services being locally financed and regulated. Especially in the UK case, it is also complicated by the frameworks within which (labour market) provision has been ‘marketised’ through the greater involvement of commercial providers, a trend that is rather more marked in national employment regulation types of minimum income system. In the Polish, Swedish and Italian cases coordination deficits concern coordination of local benefit provision with all types of service support, both due to some services being organised on different territorial levels (as with labour market policy in Poland and Sweden) and the more general absence of a national policy for articulating benefits and services. In many cases these findings contrast with the more positive assessments (for example, of the Network of Independent Experts on Social Inclusion) in recent evaluations of active inclusion.
Regarding the three groups that are the focus of particular attention in COPE (the long term unemployed, single parents and the working poor), the research showed that while recent reform efforts across all cases have to some extent attempted to address the problems faced by the long-term unemployed and (workless) single parents, the working poor (including many working single parents) have tended to be neglected. While in one case (Poland) this includes working people in poverty not being entitled to minimum income support, generally the deficit of provision for the working poor particularly concerns labour market support and enabling services. Only in the British case has labour market support for those already in-work been a focus of recent policy discussion, and then in the distinctly negative form of increased in-work conditionality. Better provision of services to support career progression for those receiving minimum income benefits but working is an important under-developed aspect of active inclusion in Europe, the research reveals.

The WP6 in the COPE project aimed to analyse the role of the local level in a multilevel governance system of minimum income schemes for lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor. The organisation of minimum income schemes reserves in most European countries an important role for the local arena in the provision of support to poor persons. The focal point of a set of local case studies was to analyse the specific role of the local agencies in regulating the programmatic and organisational dimension of minimum income schemes. The selection of local cases followed the general arguments presented in the COPE application and the general selection criteria regarded for national teams to choose one local entity that was experiencing a fairly high problem pressure (e.g. unemployment levels, no of social assistance claimants, poverty levels) in a national context. The local cases included: Turin (ITA), Glasgow (UK), Malmö (SWE), Dortmund (GER) and Radom (POL), belonging to a variety of welfare regime constellations (Conservative/Corporative, Southern European, Eastern European, Social Democratic and Liberal). The cities share a similar background as industrialised cities, which have undergone extensive changes in recent decades. Each city is characterized by extensive problem pressure (high unemployment rates, low labour market participation, high costs for social assistance, pervasive patterns of marginalization and social exclusion) in their respective national context.
Based on the local cases, our significant results regarding the implementation of minimum income policies and support schemes are as follows.
• First, local discourses and ideological positions on poverty play a significant role in local policy adaptation to national models of active inclusion policies and the comparison explore extensive variation across our local cases with regard to the local constitution of such discourses, partly reflecting welfare state regime typologies, partly reflecting local agency set-up and political leadership in local governments.
• Second, European and national policy strategies against poverty and/or social exclusion, and strategies to promote active inclusion are entangled in complex central – local dynamics, irrespective of what national model of active inclusion being adopted in the country in question. Local actors rarely accept central steering and regulation. Instead we find that local public actors explore their discretionary powers – also in national contexts where strong central steering persist and local autonomy is limited – against central actor regulation, sometimes in joined forces with non-public actors and directly in obstruction to central regulation.
As for the local organization of local minimum support schemes, WP6 could reveal the following:
• First, our studies illustrate extensive variation in local government’s capacities to cater for people in need. Local cases demonstrate that the scope of the local minimum income provision is large in most of our cases. The cities of Dortmund, Glasgow and Malmö have fairly extensive systems for minimum income provision (ALGII and social assistance support), this also includes the city of Radom. The scope of the public minimum income scheme is more rudimentary and even fragmented in the city of Turin as a very small proportion of the local population actually receives public support from the local minimum income schemes. This demonstrates different public institutional capacities to cater for people living under financial hardship.
• Second, we find that local policy coordination and agency cooperation is primarily a reflection of national reform processes, but also that central regulation have adverse and unexpected effects at local level. One local case has extensive integration at local level (GER-Dortmund), both in theory and in practice, whereas as in other local cases, central regulation has had adverse effects on local organization (Glasgow – UK). The central steering and close coordination between minimum income support and employment services linked to the JCPs had adverse effects locally. In other local contexts, (Malmö – SWE and Radom – POL), local policies are articulated and organized in the backdrop of a clear-cut institutional separation between centrally regulated activation/active labour market policies, and local provision of minimum income support. These organizational divisions have resulted in tensions between public agencies, and furthermore the expansion of a local activation system, i.e. constituting a parallel system to the central PES.
Local arenas constituted of a complex set of actors and governance arrangements
• Our studies demonstrate that local welfare arenas are constituted of a complex set of set-up of actors, mainly in terms of extensive involvement of third sector organizations in debating, planning and delivering welfare services.
• In most countries local third sector organizations seem to play a greater role in local social services provision. In most of the local cases, non-public actors are involved in both deliberation and planning of policies and services, as well as in delivering services.
• Local third sector organizations are not only locally embedded, but involved in national and European networks, bringing ideas, policy proposals, projects and funding opportunities into the local context, partly sidestepping national level rules and practices.
To conclude, the analysis in WP6 shows that local active inclusion policies do not reflect the extensive ambitions developed by the EU in the terms of an active inclusion strategy. A successful implementation of an active inclusion strategy is hampered by weak public capacities to foster minimum income guarantees for people in need, weak coordination between public services and/or extensive division between public service arrangements. Most cases have, however, successfully explored partnership arrangements between public and third sector organization.
The results moreover point to the relevance of local level factors for the successful development of an active inclusion strategy, and that a fully-fledged active inclusion strategy needs to take into consideration the local actor set-up of public as well as non-public actors in both policy-design and policy delivery if one seeks to meet the demands currently facing European welfare states in the backdrop of the crisis.


The research on individual MIS beneficiaries was aimed to investigate whether in their opinion they receive support that enables them to get out of poverty or whether, on the contrary, their situation is deteriorating, they are sinking further into poverty and an even deeper social exclusion, or whether perhaps they have maintained the same standard of living and experienced the same level of social exclusion. The research focused on three groups of MIS clients: the long-term unemployed, the working poor and single parents and their experiences with the impact of MIS and other social benefits, social services provided by public institutions, NGOs and charity, and public services such as education, health, housing and local transport.

The general finding of the research conducted in Dortmund, Glasgow, Malmö, Radom and Turin is that receiving MIS, other benefits or social assistance and using general public services results neither in any visible deterioration nor in any significant improvement of the beneficiaries’ situation. It may therefore be characterised as ‘staying afloat’, meaning maintaining a low standard of living and not increasing the degree of social exclusion any further. It was only in the case of the Dortmund respondents that we have found situations of deterioration, of ‘staying afloat’, and of improvements in the claimants’ situation as a result (to some extent at least) of anti-poverty policies. ‘Staying afloat” is characteristic of all three groups of beneficiaries: single parents (in practice single mothers), the long-term unemployed and the working poor. Institutional solutions work best for the single mothers. The offer for single parent families is clearly legitimised within the social assistance system. While the families of single mothers manage to ‘stay afloat’, it is impossible for them to get out of poverty because single mothers face exclusion from the labour market. After some time they mostly convince themselves that they are not fit to work.

The offer for the long-term unemployed is much less well designed, which in practice prevents them from finding employment that is not subsidised, relatively stable and providing decent incomes. The LTU need jobs to quit poverty. In each of the countries covered by our study – except for Italy where there is no available data concerning the poverty risk among the unemployed – employment visibly protects an individual from poverty. In Germany the protective role of employment is the strongest as the difference in poverty risk between those in employment and the unemployed amounts to 61.5 in 2012. The UK comes second, at 42.4 in 2012, whereas in Poland (33.33 in 2012) and in Sweden (35.5) the protective role of employment is weaker. The offer for the working poor is the one that is most poorly designed. They experience turbulent careers on peripheral labour markets. As in their case short-term jobs alternate with periods of unemployment, they face precariousness. They are the closest to the labour market: employers prefer to recruit the short-term unemployed and at PES or at jobcentres there are more ‘serious’ job offers and training programmes and apprenticeships for them. Nevertheless, the most difficult times for the working poor are the periods of losing a job, falling into unemployment and then the harsh times of trying to get back into employment again. The institutional offer for the working poor is perceived as very limited and additionally slow and rigid. In terms of the tasks of social assistance institutions, the problems of the working poor are poorly addressed as compared to the long-term unemployed and single mothers. According to the opinions of MIS beneficiaries, their situation and the general patterns of combating poverty vary from one country and municipal community to another. It is worth asking the question – whence such a differentiation among the countries and local social assistance systems.

In all cases the respondents described the benefits as too low to ensure a decent standard of living. The respondents in Dortmund receive the highest benefits, and the benefits in Malmö are a little bit lower. The benefits are definitely lower in Glasgow and Turin, and in Radom they are the lowest. Given the financial capacity of Poland and Sweden, the allowances could be made a little bit more generous. The respondents in Radom and Malmö openly point out that they do not find the benefit levels satisfying. The respondents in Turin complain about the level of benefits; however, their complaints may perhaps be understood in terms of disappointed expectations, as the migrants came to Italy in order to improve their living standards. In all cases the respondents benefit from various social services, passive labour market services and active labour market services, along with the free public services such as school education for children or health care. The respondents point out the low quality of those services and their limited availability. Nevertheless, in some cases they were satisfied with the access itself. Depending on the city, there were some differences in the intensity of complaints concerning service quality and access. Generally, the social services were evaluated higher than the labour market services. The differentiation may be caused by the differences in the amounts assigned for combating poverty or by the differences in the institutional paradigms that shape the patterns of anti-poverty measures. For the purpose of combating poverty, individual countries dedicate funds that are usually proportionate to their national incomes. The richest countries, Germany and Sweden, assign about 5% of their GDP for social protection (excluding health care expenditures), the UK – around 3.4%, Poland – 1.5%. Italy spends less in proportion to its GDP – around 1.5%.
Within similar expenditures, countries can achieve different results. A lot depends on the way the system of combating poverty is organized. The earlier research conducted under the COPE project was dedicated to that subject. What is easily observable in the WP7 results is that despite a considerable differentiation of expenditure on combating poverty between the countries under investigation, and despite the variety of institutional arrangements employed to this end, the respondents do not actually see any major differences in their situation or in their chances of getting out of poverty.


Based on these main research results, exploitable foregrounds were prepared that serve as a pool of information for both scientific and policy-oriented publications in the project period and beyond. The exploitable foregrounds emanating from COPE consist of three main categories:

First, a detailed document analysis for each of the five COPE countries providing further insights into the national and local organization of active inclusion policies across Europe, as well as on the European dimension of active inclusion policies;

Second, several case studies and reports conducted for the different work packages:
a. one national report per country on the national arena of combating poverty (WP5),
b. one local case study per country on the local arena of combating poverty (WP6),
c. one national report per country on the Europeanization of active inclusion policies (WP5), and
d. one report per country on the impact of welfare interventions on life-course of deprived groups (WP7)

Third, 110 anonymized transcripts of interviews in native languages with policy-makers, public officials, private stakeholders, third-sector actors and MIS-beneficiaries in the area active inclusion policies. Rules for the ethical use of the anonymized interview transcripts have been agreed upon by all consortium members.

The exploitable foreground of the FP7 project COPE has been processed not only for project deliverables, but also for a number of scientific publications. We expect to continue to exploit the COPE material for scientific and social policy-oriented publications for the duration of the next 2-5 years.

At present, four peer reviewed publications have already appeared in scientific journals in the framework of a themed section on “Reforming minimum income protection in Europe” with the Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy:

1) Matteo Jessoula, Julia Kubisa, Ilaria Madama & Marianna Zielenska (2014): Understanding convergence and divergence: old and new cleavages in the politics of minimum: income schemes in Italy and Poland, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 30:2, 128-146, DOI: 10.1080/21699763.2014.936024

Abstract: Italy and Poland present similarly weak minimum income protection models, yet this results from two different policy trajectories in the last 15 years: both countries actually introduced a minimum income scheme (MIS) between the late 1990s (Italy) and the early 2000s (Poland), but later developments were characterized by policy reversal in the Italian case vis-à-vis institutionalization in Poland. The paper therefore addresses two intertwined puzzles. First, in the light of very different background conditions, which factors help understand the convergent process towards the introduction of MIS? Second, what explains remarkable divergence in the subsequent phase? Challenging previous claims about the limited scope of political competition dynamics in the field of social assistance, due to generally narrow constituencies and limited political mobilization, we contend that political competition dynamics are key factors in order to make sense of both convergent and divergent trajectories in the two diverse phases.

2) Daniel Clegg (2014) Convergence from below? The reform of minimum income protection in France and the UK, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 30:2, 147-164, DOI: 10.1080/21699763.2014.938683

Abstract: Through a systematic comparison of major reforms to minimum income benefits for people of working age in France and the UK, this paper assesses the scope for crossnational convergence in this growing sector of European welfare states. It shows that while differing institutional legacies have shaped the precise design of the new minimum income systems that have been put in place on each side of the Channel in recent years, there is also evidence of an increasingly common conceptualisation of the function of the last safety net and its articulation with the labour market, despite the two countries’ still very different political economies. This suggests the potential across welfare states for convergence “from below” on broader understandings of the role of social security provisions in regulating economic life.

3) Anna Angelin, Håkan Johansson & Max Koch (2014) Patterns of institutional change in minimum income protection in Sweden and Germany, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 30:2, 165-179, DOI: 10.1080/21699763.2014.937584

Abstract: Germany is generally regarded as a case of qualitative “change” in minimum income protection (MIP) schemes, while Sweden is perceived as one of institutional “inertia”. This paper seeks to qualify this view by embedding developments in MIP in wider policy and governance trends. Empirically, it is based on document analysis and qualitative expert interviews in the two countries. Theoretically, the paper applies recent institutional approaches that address patterns of change in more complex ways. In Sweden, an exclusive focus on formal continuity regarding social assistance would disguise its change in function from temporary security system of last resort into one that permanently provides income protection when neighbouring policy fields, unemployment and sickness insurance, are downsized. Conversely, in Germany a merger of social assistance and unemployment assistance took place. Yet an exclusive focus on the Hartz reforms would downplay the degree of continuity that nevertheless exists in the unemployment insurance.

4) Martin Heidenreich, Norbert Petzold, Marcello Natili & Alexandru Panican (2014) Active inclusion as an organisational challenge: integrated anti-poverty policies in three European countries, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 30:2, 180-198, DOI: 10.1080/21699763.2014.934901

Abstract: Active inclusion aims at the reduction of poverty by strengthening the agency of excluded persons by the provision of a minimum income, activation and social services. The contribution to poverty alleviation is determined by expenditure levels and the organisation of these three policy fields. This can be shown by three examples: The comprehensive Swedish regime is characterised by high expenditures; the redistributive German regime is characterised by lower service levels and in Italy, all three dimensions are least developed. In addition, the organisation of services differs: Decentralised and discretionary system for the provision of services in Sweden, “creaming and parking” effects in Germany and fragmented providers in Italy. As a result of different expenditure levels and organisational patterns, the selectivity of active inclusion strategies is low in Sweden, medium in Germany and high in Italy. Both the financial and organisational dimensions of active inclusion therefore are decisive for poverty alleviation
Potential Impact:
The COPE research has been geared not only towards the scientific community, but also and especially towards the policy-makers and administrators responsible for designing active inclusion policies. The key message to policy-makers emanating from COPE is that the coherent and effective coordination of employment and social services at the local level is a necessary condition for the active inclusion of vulnerable citizens. However, although some national employment systems in Europe already foresee such a link, this does not necessarily guarantee good implementation at the local level. In practice, effective service cooperation requires cooperation between actors on the ground. Good cooperation is not only a necessity in national systems that foster integration, but could also help to mitigate the disadvantages of sectorialised and non-integrated systems. The most relevant issues with regard to such cooperation that should be taken into account by subnational policy makers are:
• Cooperation at the local level could be achieved by establishing round tables, cooperation centres etc. which evolve out of the local context and include the relevant local actors.
• These cooperation structures should have sufficient legal and financial backing to ensure commitment and sustainable cooperation with a focus on local needs against the backdrop of active inclusion.
• Cooperation structures should follow existing local setups such as the involvement of third-sector actors or tripartite structures.
As the COPE research on the individual level showed, service integration is of high relevance for effectively supporting persons with multiple social problems, but only if it is accompanied by personalisation. Personalised, tailored services which focus not only on labour market integration but also on a more holistic life-oriented approach are of very high relevance for those claimants who are very far from the labour market. Personalisation was, at least in the five local entities under study in the COPE project, most successful in those cases where social workers were involved in the process, in addition to or instead of caseworkers from the employment service department. A trustful relationship between social workers and beneficiaries, as well as a high engagement of the social workers and good cooperation from the claimants’ side could be identified as drivers of effective personalisation. However, the engagement of street-level bureaucrats must not be a question of personal resources and individual commitment only, but should also and especially be enabled by institutional structures such as good qualifications, clear competence structures, and sufficient financial resources (especially to ensure a good client/caseworker ratio).

1. A lack of resources and/or opportunities to pool resources among organisations (due to heterogeneous targets and/or fragmented organisational landscapes),
2. No clear network leadership, no clear procedural rules,
3. No joint inter-organisational objectives (e.g. employability vs. broader social inclusion/‘life first’),
4. A lacking autonomy of local public actors in service design.

Network builders among local organisations providing social and employment services should therefore take into account:

a. The heterogeneous problems disadvantaged persons are facing, such as low qualifications, debt, mental or physical illness, substance abuse, etc.
b. Local peculiarities both in terms of target groups and service-providing actors,
c. A comprehensive overview of all local organisations, networks, and stakeholders providing individualised services, with the goal of achieving coherent coordination among them,
d. Awareness that not only clear responsibilities, but also sufficient resources and discretion in resource-pooling, data-sharing and the usage of instruments is necessary for achieving commitment among partners and a high-quality and efficient co-production of targeted measures.

These basic principles should be supported by policy initiatives and policy-makers at all political-administrative levels.

In order to disseminate these main findings of COPE to a wider audience of academics, policy-makers, practitioners and the general public, the following dissemination activities and materials were undertaken/prepared by the COPE members:

The partners have been very active in presenting the research conducted in the framework of COPE at international conferences as well as several international PhD events (see the Core of the Periodic Report on Project Period 2 for a comprehensive list of conference presentations).

Most COPE-based conference papers have been or are planned to be published in high-quality scientific journals. Due to the tight timeline of the project, which meant that empirical research and data analysis were ongoing almost until the end of the project, COPE has only recently started to publish its empirical findings. By now, four journal articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals. More articles are currently under review. COPE expects a high publication output for 2015/2016, since all partners are very committed to disseminating the project’s findings to the scientific community.

1) The COPE consortium is currently working intensively on four manuscripts for edited volumes: A manuscript for the joint volume on “Combating Poverty in Europe: Active Inclusion in a Multi-Level and Multi-Actor Context”, edited by Rune Halvorsen and Bjørn Hvinden has been handed in via the Participant Portal. This manuscript is currently finalized by the editors and will be published with Edward Elgar this year.
2) A volume edited by Håkan Johansson and Alexandru Panican with the title “Responding to the crisis: Combating poverty and promoting active inclusion in local welfare societies.” All participating authors have handed in their first drafts for the chapters and the book will be published by Palgrave in 2015.
3) A volume edited by Matteo Jessoula and Ilaria Madama with the title “A chance for social Europe. Europe2020 and the fight against poverty and social exclusion”. The proposal for the book has recently been accepted by Routledge and the authors are currently writing the chapters. The book will be published in late 2015 or early 2016.
4) A volume with the title “Recasting Minimum Income Protection in Europe: Towards Active Inclusion?” edited by Daniel Clegg. The proposal has been accepted by Edward Elgar, and the contributing authors are currently in the process of writing. The book will be published in early 2016.

Four PhD theses have been or are going to be finalized on the basis of COPE-foreground: Marianna Zieleńska (ISUW): The mechanisms of reproduction and changes in the system of public administration. Implementation of the open method of coordination in case of social policy” (completed in spring 2014), Norbert Petzold (CETRO): “Long-term benefit receipt of German MIS”, Justyna Zielińska (ISUW): “The working poor in Poland. The proletariat of the XXI century?” and Marcello Natili (DSLW): “The politics of minimum income scheme in Southern Europe. Explaining different trajectories of regional MIS in Italy and Spain”.

A summer school for PhD candidates was organized jointly with three other FP7 projects (LOCALISE, FLOWS, WILCO) in Barcelona on 10-12 June 2013. The summer school provided an excellent opportunity for both project-affiliated and external PhD students to discuss their work with senior researchers. The Doctoral School of Social Science, Aalborg University (project coordinator of FLOWS) bore the overall responsibility for the event.

LOCALISE initiated a joint scientific conference with five other FP7 projects (LOCALISE, FLOWS, ImPRovE, INSPIRES, WILCO) on the topic “Towards Inclusive Employment and Welfare Systems: Challenges for a Social Europe”. The conference was organised by CETRO and took place in Berlin on 9-10 October 2014 ( A central aim of the conference was to strengthen cooperation among various FP7 projects and to disseminate the projects’ findings to the wider scientific community.

CETRO organised a joint FP7 policy & research conference on the topic of “Building inclusive welfare systems: A dialogue between research and practice”. The conference took place in Brussels on 5 June 2014, involving presentations from LOCALISE, COPE, FLOWS and WILCO). A broad audience of policy officials, NGO workers and academics attended this successful event.

All partners hosted a meeting with their National Stakeholder Committees consisting of relevant organizations in the field of employment and social policy (for example representatives from ministries, public employment services, welfare associations, trade unions, and others). The meetings were organized not only to disseminate the research findings of COPE, but also to ensure a research approach that adequately reflects the reality of the chosen policy fields.

The country teams involved in COPE launched a series of Stakeholder Meetings in which the research results were presented to members of the National Stakeholder Committee and to local stakeholders interviewed in the course of the project. The meetings have been a great success and were highly valued by the participants from different policy areas connected to an anti-poverty policies at the local level – the key research interest of COPE. Also for the researchers, it has been highly beneficial to discuss our findings with practical experts as well as to explore potential areas of future research that are important not only from an academic perspective, but also from the perspective of professionals in the field. A report on these meetings has been delivered to the European Commission and published at the project website

A summer school for PhD candidates was organized jointly with three other FP7 projects (LOCALISE, FLOWS, WILCO). It took place in Barcelona on 10-12 June 2013. The summer school provided an excellent opportunity for both project-affiliated and external PhD students to discuss their work with senior researchers. The Doctoral School of Social Science, Aalborg University (project coordinator of FLOWS) bore the overall responsibility for the event. From the COPE project, Norbert Petzold participated at this event. As senior researcher, Martin Heidenreich was present from COPE.

In project period 2, CETRO published a European Policy Brief on “Active Inclusion and the Fight Against Poverty: The Challenge of Integrated Services. Lessons from Five European Countries” which is available on the project website and has also been sent to involved stakeholders

In total, three editions of the newsletter appeared during the project period. The newsletter was e-mailed to a broad range of stakeholders, interview partners, scientists and other interested persons. The newsletter has also been published on the project website.

Flyers and posters in English and other languages were prepared and continually updated to inform our interview partners and the interested public on the project. Press releases have also been launched, as well as news releases on university websites.

CETRO has maintained the project website ( where project reports, conference activities, meetings, relevant sources, and information on the project, the country teams and other information can be found.

CETRO has maintained the Facebook page of COPE to reach a broader audience (
List of Websites:


Jean Monnet Centre for Europeanisation and Transnational Regulations Oldenburg – CETRO –
Oldenburg, Germany
Martin Heidenreich,


School of Social and Political Science – UEDIN –
Edinburg, UK
Daniel Clegg,

Faculty of Political Sciences – DSLW –
Milan, Italy
Maurizio Ferrera,
Matteo Jessoula,

Institute for Sociology – ISUW –
Warsaw, Poland
Wiesława Kozek,

School of Social Work – SOCH –
Lund, Sweden
Håkan Johansson,

Norwegian Social Research– HiOA NOVA –
Oslo, Norway
Bjørn Hvinden,