2016 EU Regional Social Progress Index – meeting in Strasbourg on November 24th
Yesterday members and partners of the URBAN intergroup had the possibility to learn more about the Social Progress Index (SPI), at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Michael Green, CEO of Social Progress Imperative, presented the concept of this Index: it doesn’t pretend to replace GDP but rather to complement it in order to show inclusive growth. At the beginning of the meeting, he showed the general framework of the SPI based on three main components: Basic Human Needs (Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, Water and Sanitation, Shelter, Personal Safety), Foundations of Wellbeing (Access to Basic Knowledge, Access to Information and Communications, Health and Wellness, Environmental Quality) and Opportunity (Personal Rights, Personal Freedom and Choice, Tolerance and Inclusion, Access to Advanced Education). In global Social Progress Index, EU Member States have in general very high social progress compared to other countries.
Then, the presentation focused on the EU Regional Social Progress Index, which is a three-year joint project of the European Commission (DG REGIO), Social Progress Imperative and Orkestra (Basque Institute of Competitiveness). This regional index intends to help regions to prioritise issues they want to address with their cohesion policy programmes and to identify peers (from whom they could learn). Moreover, it can serve as well as a sounding board for the EU executive to assess whether its policies and programmes address the right issues in the right places. Finally, it allows DG REGIO to make a contribution to the beyond GDP debate.
EU Regional SPI is made of 50 indicators from hard and survey data. The analyses show that regions with the highest GDP per capita are not the top performers concerning social progress. It has been stressed that European regions generally perform well on Basic Human Needs, however high variations within countries can be observed when it comes to Foundations of Wellbeing. Opportunity is the dimension with the lowest level of performance with significant differences among the Nordic countries, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe.
Some thematic findings show that there is a closer link between social progress and household income, that between social progress and GDP per capita. Finally, there is no significant relationship between SPI and unemployment rate. However, there is a significant link between SPI and long-term unemployment
During the debate, Members of the Intergroup showed interest to the SPI findings. In conclusion, MEP Nicola Caputo, (S&D, Italy), presented the interest group on the EU Regional Social Progress Index (EU-SPI) working at the European Parliament.