Jacques Delors Institute Berlin and Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

How are you doing, Europe?

Mapping social imbalances in the EU

2019, 44 Pages (PDF)

Free of charge


At the end of May, Europeans will elect a new European Parliament and soon after a new European Commission will begin its five-year mandate. The political changing of the guard in the EU comes at a time of economic recovery. Yet, when we start digging deeper to understand how Europeans are experiencing the social and economic progress that the headline figures suggest, the picture blurs. There are great differences in social conditions across EU countries and regions, and the global economic and financial crisis has in many areas added to the disparities within and between European societies.

Our new study „How are you doing, Europe? Mapping social imbalances in the EU” looks at six social challenges that we consider to be of particular importance across the EU in terms of decent living standards, good working conditions as well as equal opportunities and participation. The selection of topics is based on whether they are relevant for a large number of Europeans across different member states and regions and whether they have a direct impact that people may experience in their daily lives. We draw both on well-known sets of indicators and monitoring reports, as well as on a broad range of case studies that allow us to better understand the context in which different socio-economic groups across Europe are affected.   

By shedding light on these aspects, we hope to contribute to the debate on how Europe is doing – and what is needed to make Europeans better off. The upcoming election of the European Parliament provides an excellent opportunity to put the question of what to do about social imbalances at the heart of a genuinely European debate.


Sylvia Schmidt
Philipp Ständer
Sylvia Schmidt, Philipp Ständer