This report from European think-tank Bruegel is a recommended read. It highlights that contrary to many perceptions, income inequality in the EU has fallen over the past two decades. and in the EU as a whole, and in most EU members, absolute poverty is rare and income inequality is low. It notes that strong welfare states have offered protection against inequality. However, it’s necessary to read to report because there are significant exceptions.
Source: An anatomy of inclusive growth in Europe | Bruegel
Surprisingly, more children of low-educated parents obtain a high level education in the UK & Finland than in rest of EU. I worry that pumping people through higher education should not be an end in itself. Education and training needs to be matched to demand. More importantly, the quality of tertiary education must improve against international benchmarks. Sadly, politicians have often meddled and not followed a robust strategy, so there remains enormous waste in public spending on education – it is too bureaucratic and under the influence of left-wing & liberal educators, and of course, powerful trade-unions resist change and reform.