Social Situation Report 2007 – Social cohesion through equal opportunities © Commission européenne
The Social Situation Report (SSR) is the Commission's main tool for monitoring developments in the social field across the EU Member States. The focus of the latest report is mainly on equal opportunities. The Report shows that income in EU Member States is more evenly distributed than in the US. The results show that Portugal, Latvia and Lithuania surpass the US. The most equal income distributions can be found in the Nordic countries, notably Sweden and Denmark. Portugal has the most unequal distribution. The analysis shows that those countries with a higher GDP also tend to be more egalitarian. It implies that promoting equal opportunities makes it possible to boost growth by mobilising resources that were previously blocked by discrimination and social exclusion. Thus higher education levels are of course associated with higher incomes and a much reduced risk of unemployment. As the new Member States catch up in terms of economic performance, rising incomes should result in a speedy reduction in the number of people with very low incomes. The speed with which this happens will reflect how successful the process EU's cohesion, national, economic and social policies are.