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Cross-national experiences

EU Pilot Project on Reference Budgets

A Pilot Project for developing a common methodology for Reference Budgets in Europe was launched by DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the end of 2013 with three main objectives.

​The first was to establish a reference budgets network composed of key experts and representative stakeholders, at national and EU level, to share experience and expertise on reference budgets. The second objective was to develop a theoretical framework and a common methodology for developing cross-nationally comparable reference budgets in European Member States. The third goal of the project was to develop comparable food baskets for all Member States and develop the health care, personal care and housing basket for a selection of countries.

The project is run by Applica and the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp on behalf of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The project involved more than thirty researchers across Europe.

Management Committee
Bea Cantillon, project director
Phone: +32 (0)3 265 53 98

Bérénice Storms, project leader​ |

Phone: +32 (0)3 265 51 25

Tim Goedemé, project leader |
Phone: +32 (0)3 265 55 55

Project Manager:  Loredana Sementini

Network Building Coordinator:  Anne Van Lancker

Core Team & EU expert team 


  • Jonathan Bradshaw  University of York 

  • Bernadette Mac Mahon  Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice

  • Eric Marlier   CEPS/INSTEAD

  • Michaela Moser  University of Applied Science, St. Pölten

  • Ides Nicaise  HIVA, KULeuven

  • Peter Saunders  Social Policy Research Centre, Australia

  • Karel Van den Bosch  Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy

  • Anne Van Lancker  Independent consultant

  • Cok Vrooman Netherlands Institute for Social Research

  • Terry Ward Applica

National Lead Experts

  • Austria                           Christa Leitner  

                                              Michaela Moser

  • Belgium                         Bérénice Storms

  • Bulgaria                         Bistra Vassileva

  • Cyprus                           Panos Pashardes

  • Czech Republic            Eva Abramuszkinova Pavlikova

  • Germany                       Heide Preusse 

                                              Birgit Bürkin

  • Denmark                       Finn Kenneth Hansen

  • Estonia                          Lauri Leppik

  • Greece                          Manos Matsaganis

  • Spain                             Jordi Riera Romaní 

                                              Elena Carillo Alvarez

  • Finland                          Lauri Mäkinen 

                                              Veli-Matti Ritakallio

  • France                            Isa Aldeghi

  • Croatia                           Paul Stubbs Nestic Danijel

  • Hungary                         Peter Szivos

  • Italy                                 Yuri Kazepov

  • Lithuania                        Romas Lazutka

  • Luxembourg                  Paul Zahlen 

                                              Anne Franziskus

  • Latvia                             Alf Vanags

  • Malta                             Suzanne Piscopo

  • Netherlands                 Cok Vrooman

  • Poland                          Jolanta Perek-Bialas

  • Portugal                        José Antonio Correia Pereirinha

  • Romania                        Cristina Raţ

  • Sweden                         Kenneth Nelson

  • Slovenia                        Nada Stropnik

  • Slovakia                        Daniel Gerbery


Domain Coordinators

  • Food                             Hilde Boeckx 

                                             Elena Carillo Alvarez

  • Health                           Eva Lefevere

                                             Diana Degraeve 

  • Housing                        Karel Van den Bosch

  • European Commission. (2016a). National Reports on the Food basket for European capital cities. (read)

  • European Commission. (2016b). Reports of the health care, personal care and housing basket (01/02/2016).  

    • Health Care basket (read​) 

    • Personal Care basket (read

    • Housing basket (read)

  • Carrillo-Álvarez, E.; Boeckx, H.; Penne, T.; Palma Linares, I.; Storms, B.; Goedemé, T. (2020). A comparison of European countries FBDG in the light of their contribution to tackle diet-related health inequalities. European Journal of Public Health, 30(2), 346–353. (read)

  • Carrillo-Álvarez, E., Penne, T., Boeckx, H. Storms, B., Goedemé, T. (2019). Food Reference Budgets as a Potential Policy Tool to Address Food Insecurity: Lessons Learned from a Pilot Study in 26 European Countries. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 16(1), 32. (read)

  • Goedemé, T., Penne, T., Swedrup, O., Van den Bosch, K. and Storms, B. (2019). Is there common ground for defining a decent social minimum in Europe? In: Kotkas, T., Leijten, I. and Pennings, F. (eds.) Specifying and securing a social minimum in the battle against poverty (pp. 93-109). Oxford: Hart. (read here the CSB Working Paper version)

  • Goedemé, T., Storms, B., Penne, T. & Van den Bosch, K. (eds.). (2015a). Pilot project for the development of a common methodology on Reference Budgets in Europe. The development of a methodology for comparable reference budgets in Europe – Final Report of the pilot project. October 2015. Brussels: European Commission. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. (read)

  • Goedemé, T., Storms, B., Van den Bosch, K. (2015b). Pilot project: developing a common methodology on Reference Budgets in Europe. Proposal for a method for comparable reference budgets in Europe. April 2015. Brussels: European Commission. (read)

  • Penne, T., Goedemé, T. (2021). Can low-income households afford a healthy diet? Insufficient income as a driver of food insecurity in Europe. Food Policy, 99, 1-10. (read here the CSB Working Paper version)

  • Storms, B., Goedemé, T., Van den Bosch, K., Penne, T., Schuerman, N., Stockman, S. (2014). Pilot project for the development of a common methodology on reference budgets in Europe. Review of current state of play on reference budget practices at national, regional, and local level. Brussels: European Commission. (read)

  • Van den Bosch, K., Goedemé, T., Schuerman, N., Storms, B. (2016). Reference Housing Costs for Adequate Dwellings in Ten European Capitals. Critical Housing Analysis, 3(1), 1-9. (read)

More information on the methodology:

  • Presentation on the proposal for a method for comparable reference budgets in Europe (read)

  • Executive summary of the proposal for a method for comparable reference budgets in Europe (read)

  • Flyer regarding the proposal for a method for comparable reference budgets in Europe (read)

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