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

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

Back to the Dark Ages?

Q-commerce, rapid retail and the changing landscape of retail work

Getting the goods

Trade unions and strategy in the quick-commerce sector

Making Next-Generation EU a permanent tool

Recovery Watch series

A five-point agenda for how development cooperation can support EU’s strategic autonomy

European Strategic Autonomy series - Economy & Trade
Find all related events
Online (Expert meeting)

Social measures in the NRRPs

Recovery Watch series
Brussels, Belgium

Beyond Growth Conference

Pathways towards Sustainable Prosperity in the EU
London, UK (Expert meeting)

The macro-economic impact of the cost crisis

Lessons for Europe
Find all related news

Let’s end involuntary unemployment!

European survey on the perception of unemployment and publicly funded jobs

How to make the best use of the Resilience and Recovery Fund

The first results of the Recovery Watch research project were presented to the Italian public in Rome on 15 December

Open letter to call for a deep reform of the EU fiscal rules

FEPS cosigned an open letter to EU leaders calling for them to address the underlying structural […]

FEPS launches ‘Recovery Watch’, a new research project

The National Recovery and Resilience Plans represent the new framework in which member states will identify their […]
Find all related in the media
In the media

A credible future beyond growth has to be feminist

by euobserver 17/05/2023
Euobserver article about the #BeyondGrowth conference mentions FEPS 'Defining Care' Policy Brief

O László Andor στο Φόρουμ των Δελφών

by News 24 7 28/04/2023
“László Andor discussing at the Delphi Economic Forum about the importance of social inclusion and ways to strengthen it”

Pourquoi – et comment – pérenniser Next Generation EU

by OFCE 27/04/2023
"Why - and how - to make Next Generation EU sustainable" OFCE Article about FEPS Policy Study "Making Next-Generation EU a permanent tool", with the collaboration of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, OFCE and Institut Emile Vandervelde

En Europe, le marché unique fête ses 30 ans, entre satisfaction et désillusion

by Le Monde 01/02/2023
'In Europe, the single market celebrates its 30th anniversary, between satisfaction and disillusionment' Le Monde article with an intervention by László Andor, FEPS Secretary General