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
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