Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Exit from and non-take-up of public services - EXNOTA, Final Report, EUR 23141

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2002-50025


Non-take-up of social rights, which in all countries consist of social benefits and services, is a serious cause for concern and a threat to social cohesion in Europe. Irrespective of whether NTU is explained in terms of unintentional behaviours (non-take-up) or deliberate ones (exit from), or in terms of institutional factors (public policies, territorial distribution of the public offer, administrative functioning, etc.), the very existence of this phenomenon is a fundamental challenge to the effectiveness, if not the validity, of the social welfare systems implemented throughout Europe, in some cases decades ago. The issue seems particularly urgent in light of the fact that in many countries the choice of policies and measures targeted more specifically at vulnerable groups - primarily via means-tested or even behaviour-tested benefits -, has not curbed this phenomenon. The fact that NTU has been recognized as a public problem either directly, with the emergence of "new poverty" in countries that have sound social welfare systems (here, the Netherlands, Germany and France), or indirectly, in new EU member countries (here, Greece, Spain and Hungary) through debates on the development of social protection and its opening up to minorities, does not fundamentally alter the problem. The reforms introduced to take into account priorities which change in tune with social demands and budgetary constraints simply highlight the difficulties of access to social rights.

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