At European level, social and economic policies are currently ordered and organised around achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy – high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. It is widely recognised, however, that social cohesion is declining or at least under new pressures as a consequence of the economic and employment crisis, but also due to longer-term trends including growing inequality, immigration and increasing cultural diversity. Social disparities in the EU are increasing in relation to poverty, labour
market access, health, equitable education as well as intergenerational justice. A t the same time, social cohesion is generally valued in and of itself, as it reflects solidarity and social harmony, while also being regarded as an important resource for economic success and quality of life.
This policy brief examines how significant social cohesion is for the well-being of people in Europe. It considers, in particular, how income inequalities are related to social cohesion and well-being.