European unemployment insurance

Over the past two years, CEPS has carried out a large-scale research project for the European Commission on the “Feasibility and Added Value of a European Unemployment Benefit Scheme”, in partnership with KULeuven, Eftheia, CamEcon, ISER and the ZEW. The project has aimed to assess the legal and operational feasibility of introducing a European unemployment benefits scheme (EUBS) and the economic added value that such a scheme could bring. The project contributes to the ongoing debate on reform of EMU and the need for a common fiscal capacity, as was underlined in the Five Presidents’ Report published in 2015.

This project is now completed and the Commission has kindly given its approval to CEPS to publish the main reports produced in the course of the project on its own website. It should be stressed, however, that these reports reflect the views of the authors only, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for their content or for any use which may be made of the information they contain. The major overarching output of the project is a 110-pg synthesis report, published as a CEPS e-Book entitled Feasibility and Added Value of a European Unemployment Benefits Scheme, which sets the scene and presents the project’s main findings. It opens with a discussion of the rationale for a supranational automatic stabiliser, of which an EUBS is one specific form. It then explains in detail how an EUBS could be designed, focusing especially on the 18 EUBS variants that were examined in the project. The report also highlights the added value of the scheme, by presenting estimates of macroeconomic stabilisation and redistribution results and discussing its potential contribution to labour mobility, upward convergence and Europe’s social dimension. It further analyses how an EUBS could be implemented, identifying legal and operational constraints and options at the national and European level.

CEPS is also publishing two additional Research Reports produced in the context of the project The first, entitled “Stabilising the European Economic and Monetary Union: What to expect from a common unemployment benefits scheme?”, provides a succinct executive summary of the whole project. A second (forthcoming) 130-page Research Report, entitled “Design of a European Unemployment Benefits Scheme”, offers a thorough examination of 18 policy options for the scope and design of an EUBS.

More information about the project can be found here.