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The EU Cohesion Monitor is an index of the 28 member states of the European Union describing their readiness for joint action and cooperation through a measurement of the individual ties between Europeans and structural connections between societies at large. It uses ten cohesion indicators to measure past and current levels of cohesion and thereby illustrates national trajectories and hints at future potentials for stronger cooperation in Europe.

After its first publication in 2016, the new EU Cohesion Monitor 2018 includes the cohesion rankings and trends for the period from 2007 to 2017. The EU Cohesion Monitor is part of the Rethink: Europe project by the European Council on Foreign Relations and Stiftung Mercator.


 

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Rationale

The EU Cohesion Monitor is an index of the 28 member states of the European Union and their readiness for joint action and cooperation.

The monitor uses ten indicators to conceptualize and illustrate the foundations, national trajectories and future potentials of cohesion in Europe.

This updated edition includes the cohesion ranking and trends of the EU28 from 2007 to 2017.

The EU Cohesion Monitor is part of the Rethink: Europe project by the European Council on Foreign Relations and Stiftung Mercator.

To learn more about the project please visit ecfr.eu/rethinkeurope and ecfr.eu/eucohesionmonitor.

To contact the project team please email berlin.office@ecfr.eu


 

FAQ

 

Cohesion concept

What is the EU Cohesion Monitor?

The EU Cohesion Monitor is an index of the 28 member states of the European Union and their readiness for joint action and cooperation.

It measures how strong cohesion is, how it is changing, and how much it differs between the member states of the European Union.

The concept’s central assumption is that European cohesion is a precondition for Europe’s capacity to act, and that acting together successfully, will in turn strengthen cohesion.


 

Are cooperation and cohesion different concepts?

Overall, we assume that successful cooperation between individuals as well as societies and countries will strengthen mutual bonds, shared incentives, and common experiences.

Cohesion is broader in that it focuses on the disposition of collective actors to work together.

The EU Cohesion Monitor looks not only at actual cooperation but includes a measurement of the awareness, readiness, and cooperation-mindedness of societies.

What is the difference between individual and structural cohesion?

Individual cohesion describes people’s experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and well-being. Structural cohesion is shaped by connections and practices between countries on the macro-level, including the actions of economic, political, and cultural elites.

The two dimensions often complement each other, but this is not necessarily so. The EU Cohesion Monitor displays both dimensions separately to make this differentiation visible.

What recommendations emerge from the EU Cohesion Monitor?

Cohesion is a central resource needed for European cooperation. Strategies to strengthen cohesion need to address both its individual as well as its structural dimension. They should also address each country’s distinct cohesion profile.

Cohesion is not subject to swift changes. Measures that can boost cohesion should be pursued with stamina for the long term. The variety in cohesion also means that not only policymakers and governments are encouraged to address it. Cohesion is as much a field of engagement for civil-society organisations as well as EU citizens.


 

Data and design

How is the EU Cohesion Monitor compiled?

The EU Cohesion Monitor combines a total of 32 factors to a set of ten cohesion indicators for each of the 28 EU member states. Data was gathered for 2007, 2014, and 2016/17.

The monitor presents the cohesion indicators on a scale of 1 to 10 for ease of analysis and comparability.

A description of how the data is converted is available in the download section.

What is the reason for choosing these particular indicators and variables?

Each of the EU Cohesion Monitor’s ten indicators rests on a cohesion assumption, or hypothesis.

Regarding the indicator Funding, for example, we argue that the inflow of resources through EU funds will strengthen awareness of EU benefits, such as through the presence of EU-funded projects to improve local infrastructure. At the same time, being a net contributor to the EU budget will increase that country’s stake in shaping the EU and thus will generally strengthen its engagement with it.

What are your data sources? How do you deal with data gaps?

The EU Cohesion Monitor relies on datasets that are publicly available. The most prominent sources include Eurostat and Eurobarometer surveys.

Where there are gaps in the primary data we use proxy data. For example, if a statistic is not available for 2017, we use the closest data available, say 2016. Similarly, when no data is available from other years at all, we use data from proxy countries, e.g. using Cyprus data for Malta.

The EU Cohesion Monitor was compiled with the goal to minimise these approximations.

Do you weigh your data?

We only weigh data where we see a compelling reason. For example, the maximum score in the Security indicator is 7 points rather than 10. The scale ends at seven because stronger cooperation and deeper integration in the area of security and defence is part of ongoing policy debates.

The scaling has to give room for such steps and may need to be adjusted in future editions of the EU Cohesion Monitor.


 

The 2017 update

What are the results since the previous edition of the EU Cohesion Monitor?

In the past three years the continued recovery from the financial crisis and long-term EU funding patterns have shaped structural cohesion more than the arrival of migrants in Europe has.

Trends in individual cohesion are marked by the substantial turnout for anti-EU and populist parties in several member states that held national elections in the period from 2015 to 2017. While this led to a further plummeting of the Engagement indicator, positive results for the Attitudes, Approval and Experience indicators explain why individual cohesion has grown steadily.

Why do countries still differ so much in their levels of cohesion?

The differences stem from the monitor’s combination of cohesion indicators and factors that represent different sources of cohesion and give each country its distinct cohesion profile based on its geography, population, socio-economic resilience, and more.

The EU Cohesion Monitor captures a variety of data points to give a balanced assessment of cohesion. Therefore, the trends it describes tend to change gradually rather than abruptly from one year to the next.

What are the methodological changes?

The updated edition includes new data for the period from 2007 to 2017 as well as methodological improvements to make comparisons in a three-year timeline more consistent.

Some of the primary data had not received an update since the EU Cohesion Monitor’s first edition. This includes cases where Eurobarometer questions or Eurostat tables have been discontinued or, in the case of the Engagement indicator, no new elections have taken place. In these cases we used the 2014 data point for 2017.

Can I use EU Cohesion Monitor scores for my work? Are the data sets available?

Yes. The data underlying and generated by the EU Cohesion Monitor can be accessed in its entirety and free of charge.

Please cite as follows:

EU Cohesion Monitor, European Council on Foreign Relations, December 2017, available at www.ecfr.eu/eucohesionmonitor.

 


 

Publications & Downloads

 

Cover: Keeping Europeans together

Keeping Europeans together

by Josef Janning (editor) - 20th September, 2016

This volume reflects the diversity of European cohesion. It provides the national context and personal assessments from 28 EU member states.

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Cover: Making sense of Europe's cohesion challenge

MAKING SENSE OF EUROPE’S COHESION CHALLENGE

by Josef Janning - 11th May, 2016

Making sense of Europe’s cohesion challenge. Josef Janning explains the EU Cohesion Monitor and what it means to be a European.

PDF    

Cover: Making sense of Europe's cohesion challenge

Was Europa zusammenhält

by Josef Janning - 11th May, 2016

Eine neue Studie des ECFR zeigt, dass der europäische Zusammenhalt zugenommen hat - auch nach Jahren im Krisenmodus

PDF    

Cover: Making sense of Europe's cohesion challenge

Un análisis de la cohesión europea y sus desafíos

by Josef Janning - 11th May, 2016

¿Cuán cohesionada ha estado la UE de cara a los retos que enfrenta?

PDF    

Cover: Putin’s downfall: The coming crisis of the Russian regime

EU cohesion monitor explorer 2016

Navigation and viewing experience optimised for Adobe Acrobat.

PDF    

Cover: Putin’s downfall: The coming crisis of the Russian regime