20 December 2021
Upward convergence lies at the heart of the EU project. Member States and their citizens sign up to be part of the Union, as they expect their membership will lead to balanced economic prosperity and social progress across countries. Increasing disparities between Member States, as happened during the 2008–2013 economic crisis, could be seen as a betrayal of the EU’s promise, and potentially lay the seeds for discontent and disintegration. This flagship report is the culmination of Eurofound’s research into monitoring convergence in the EU, which was initiated in 2017. It describes the shifting dynamics of upward convergence over the period 2008–2019, explores the short-term impact of COVID-19 on European economies and societies, together with its implications for convergence, and discusses the long-term effects of the pandemic and the future of upward economic and social convergence in Europe.