Towards a care-led recovery for the EU?

Recovery Watch series

Policy Study


A feminist care analysis of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans

This Policy Study applies a feminist reading to explore how care is addressed in the NextGenerationEU fund, considering that this historic EU fiscal stimulus tool was set up precisely to help member states repair the immediate socioeconomic damage brought about by the COVID pandemic, whilst enhancing their post-pandemic resilience.

The study analyses how member states have used the opportunity of the NGEU to integrate a care dimension into their own plans, regardless of the absence of an explicit care criterion, unlike the green and digital spending thresholds.

The author engages with the feminist literature on care to analyse the resulting National Recovery and Resilience Plans across Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Germany, Finland, Italy, Latvia and Spain. The ambition is to understand to what extent the NRRPs have adopted a care-led approach in response to the care crisis exacerbated by COVID-19.

This results in an in-depth qualitative analysis of the national plans, complemented by a quantitative assessment, that offers several elements of the response.

  • Despite the limited incentives to foster a care transition, all the national plans studied address care, but at a significantly lower extent than other spending priorities.
  • Secondly, the scope of care measures in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans significantly mirrors the pre-existing care regimes in place.
  • The third major finding reveals that there is a general convergence towards similar solutions, with the institutionalisation of childcare and the deinstitutionalisation of long-term care, but the recognition of the underlying problems behind care imbalances is framed in contrasting ways.
  • Examination of the NRRPs reveals a broadly shared tendency to adopt a life-cycle perspective, although most NRRPs fail to acknowledge the inherently intersectional and cross-border dimension of care.

This Policy Study is part of the Recovery Watch series of publications. The Recovery Watch is a research project that monitors the Recovery and Resilience Facility and assesses its social impact in different countries.

Led by FEPS, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Institut Emile Vandervelde (IEV), in collaboration with several first-rate research organisations.

Institut Emile Vandervelde
Related publications

Bidding farewell to workfare?

Recovery Watch series

Towards a renewables scale-up that works for nature

Recovery Watch series

Governing the RRF

Recovery Watch series

Is the digital transition a lever for structural reforms or does it reinforce the divide?

Recovery Watch series

Making Next-Generation EU a permanent tool

Recovery Watch series

Promoting a just digital transition for workers

Recovery Watch series

Systemic transformation or status quo?

Recovery Watch Series

How place-sensitive are the NRRPs?

Recovery Watch series

Policy challenges and actions for a just climate transition

Recovery Watch series

The role of the Recovery and Resilience Facility in strengthening childcare policies

Recovery Watch series
Find all related publications

Women CSO leaders for systemic change

How to support feminist leadership in Europe

Progressive Yearbook 2024

Looking back to look ahead

The macro-economic impact of the cost crisis

Lessons for Europe

Making trade work for prosperity, people and planet

FEPS Primers series - Arancha González and Yanis Bourgeois
Find all related Progressive Post
Progressive Post

A just transition in crisis mode


Food prices are high. Why are farmers angry?


Progressive industrial policy: an antidote for troubled times

Find all related events

Reinforcing European cohesion

New goals and tools to share prosperity in Europe
FEPS HQ (Expert meeting)

Progressive Economics Network

Towards a progressive toolbox to deal with inflation
Vienna, Austria

10th Barbara Prammer Symposium 2024

Democracy without feminism is no democracy
Find all related news

FEPS President at Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’


Economic Democracy

FEPS launches an initiative on Economic Democracy

Tax the rich

A European Citizens' Initiative

Call for tender – Researcher on inflation

This call for tender closed on 03/10/23
Find all related in the media
In the media

FEPS President at Euronews talk-show ‘Brussels, my love?’

by Euronews 15/01/2024
Panellists discussed topics including EU fiscal rules reform, German farmer's protests, and the decision of Charles Michel to quit his job early to run for MEP.

“Trade doesn’t work in isolation from good domestic policies” Interview to Arancha González

by Borderlex 19/09/2023
Interview to Arancha González, former Spanish foreign minister, who released together with FEPS the new book entitled 'The Trade Handbook: Making Trade Work for Prosperity, People and Planet'

A szociális unió imperatívusza

by Új Egyenlőség 09/09/2023
'The imperative of Social Union'. Article about FEPS book 'Europe’s Social Integration: Welfare Models and Economic Transformations' by László Andor.

Após 66 anos de adiamentos, a barragem do Pisão entrou em contra-relógio

by Pùblico 19/08/2023
'After 66 years of postponements, the Pisão dam has entered a race against time' Pùblico's article mentions FEPS Policy Study 'Governing the RRF'