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Observatoire Social Européen (OSE) Centre for research and information on the social implications of European integration

Address :
Rue Paul-Emile Janson, 13
1050  Brussels

European Union

Contact person :
Bart Vanhercke / David Natali
Phone: +32 2 5371971
Fax: +32 2 5392808

Short description

The European Social Observatory (OSE) is a research, information and training centre that specialises in the social dimension of the European Union. It analyses the impact of European integration on social and employment policies at the level of both the EU and its Member States. The OSE lays the foundations for critical reflection by conducting policy-oriented research, formulating policy proposals and producing training toolkits. It has a forward-looking approach and operates as a think-tank, identifying issues as they emerge. It has organised several major international conferences, in particular during Belgium’s Presidencies of the European Union. The OSE works closely with the Belgian and European public authorities as well as with trade unions and civil society organisations.

Established in 1984 by Belgian and Italian trade unions, the OSE has recourse to a broad-based network of (academic and other) researchers, think-tanks, EU and national trade unionists, social partner representatives and social stakeholders. Its team of researchers and analysts – reinforced by its research associates, visiting scholars and interns from all over Europe and North America - is multidisciplinary and multilingual. This variety of disciplines and nationalities helps the OSE to embrace Europe’s complexity. Such diverse expertise – together with its scientific autonomy - constitutes one of its main strengths.

Over the years, the OSE has become a reference point for all who seek unbiased information on the social dimension of European integration, and on the policies affecting it. The OSE is a unique platform for dialogue concerning the future of social Europe, as it is open to the world at large and to public authorities, universities, the trade union movement and social organisations. The OSE is likewise a partner in several European Framework Programmes, and is active in key networks of academic excellence in Europe and North America.

Areas of expertise and competencies

The OSE has amassed expertise in cross-cutting areas such as economic and monetary union and its impact on the social dimension of European integration, institutional issues and the EU social policymaking mechanisms (including the open method of coordination, EU legislation and EU funding). More specifically, our expertise covers the following policy areas:

- Employment and labour markets, restructuring and industrial change

- Education and training

- Gender and diversity

- Institutional matters including citizenship

- Health care

- Poverty and social exclusion

- Social dialogue

- Welfare systems and pensions.

For more detailed information, please consult OSE's thematic pages.

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

For the current involvements of OSE in different projects and networks, please, consult the website.

Publications, language, newsletter

Through its involvement in social debate, the Observatoire has developed an array of information tools, some geared to the general public and others more specialised:

Since 1999 the OSE has been publishing an annual volume entitled “Social Developments in the European Union” in partnership with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI). OSE publications, as well as the studies to which OSE researchers contribute, are renowned for being among the best in Europe in their field. OSE researchers provide input into major research projects and publications while at the same time contributing to the development of a variety of OSE in-house resources:

  • the website (in English and French) is a valuable source of information on OSE research, information and training activities;
  • the two-monthly OSE Newsletter;
  • the Health Care Newsletter provides a regular summary of current EU developments with a potential impact on national health care systems;
  • the OSE Working Paper Series takes the form of three different publications - "Research”, "Briefing” and “Opinion” papers - authored by the OSE research team, our research associates and high-profile external scholars;
  • the OSE Lunchtime Sessions during which leading scholars, policymakers and stakeholders shed light on issues at the top of the EU agenda for an audience consisting of OSE researchers and their guests.
  • Other publications in different languages are to be found through the website. Individual web pages of team members contain their key publications.

Other networks the institute is participating in

For an up-to-date overview of the networks the OSE is currently involved in, see the website.

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