SOLIDAR Social Progress Lab – Redefining structural reforms

The SOLIDAR Social Progress Lab started in spring 2015 with a call for academic papers to help formulate and develop alternatives to the structural reforms that are currently being pursued by the European institutions as part of the so-called ‘virtuous triangle’ (i.e. investment, fiscal consolidation, and structural reforms), followed by a symposium in Turin on 6 July 2015.

On 1 December 2015 the edited volume “Progressive Structural Reforms. Proposals for European reforms to reduce inequalities and promote jobs, growth and social investment” was presented in the European Parliament.

The purpose of this volume is to show that there is no one single package of structural reforms. In the context of the current economic crisis, alternative economic and social policies do exist but they are disregarded. A better mix between demand and supply side policies is needed and investments in the right areas are more than necessary. The goal is to show that there are progressive ways to reform societies and that structural reforms do not necessarily have to be neo-liberal policies aiming exclusively at deregulating markets. There is a need to tackle the challenge of growing inequalities and to promote investment in youth, social infrastructure and productivity gains in the real economy. Progressives need to re-appropriate themselves the concept of structural reforms and propose an alternative definition of their content. Social investment and policies aiming at reducing inequalities are key pillars of such reappraisal.

Looking ahead – SOLIDAR Social Progress Lab 2016
In 2016, SOLIDAR under guidance of the scientific advisory group, will continue to develop the Social Progress Lab to feed into the discussions at European and national level about necessary policies to achieve upward social convergence, thereby anticipating the upcoming Commission communication on a Pillar of Social Rights and giving space to discussions between academia, policy-makers and civil society.

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