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Crisis, structural reform and the dismantling of the European Social Model(s)


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  • Hermann, Christoph
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    Following ECB-president Draghi's remark that the European Social Model does no longer exist and the crisis can only be overcome through a combination of austerity and structural reform, this paper examines the consequences of austerity measures and structural reforms adopted during the crisis in a number of EU member states. The hypothesis is that the juxtaposition of the end of the European Social Model on the one hand, and austerity and structural reform on the other was well chosen. In fact austerity and the structural reforms amount to a veritable attack on the foundations of the European Social Model. The first part of the essay summarizes the discussion on the European Social Model, while the second part describes and compares major austerity measures and structural reforms adopted during the crisis. The third part discusses the impact of the newly established European Economic Governance structure on national economic and social policies. The fourth part deals with the consequences of austerity and structural reform, including for poverty and inequality. The essay ends with some reflections on the role of solidarity and the future of the European Social Model. --

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    Paper provided by Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE) in its series IPE Working Papers with number 26/2013.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:ipewps:262013

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    Keywords: Economic crisis; European Social Model; Austerity; Inequality; Solidarity;

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    1. James S. Mosher & David M. Trubek, 2003. "Alternative Approaches to Governance in the EU: EU Social Policy and the European Employment Strategy," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 63-88, 03.
    2. Lydia FRAILE, 2009. "Lessons from Latin America's neo-liberal experiment: An overview of labour and social policies since the 1980s," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, International Labour Organization, vol. 148(3), pages 215-233, 09.
    3. Hein, Eckhard, 2012. "Finance-dominated capitalism, re-distribution and the financial and economic crises - a European perspective," MPRA Paper 35903, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Eckhard Hein & Achim Truger & Till van Treeck, 2011. "The European Financial and Economic Crisis: Alternative Solutions from a (Post-) Keynesian Perspective," IMK Working Paper 9-2011, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    5. John Grahl & Paul Teague, 2013. "Reconstructing the eurozone: the role of EU social policy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 677-692.
    6. André Sapir, 2006. "Globalization and the Reform of European Social Models," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 369-390, 06.
    7. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2011. "Peripheral Europe’s Debt and German Wages. The Role of Wage Policy in the Euro Area," Discussion Papers, Research on Money and Finance 29, Research on Money and Finance.
    8. Jens Alber, 2006. "The European Social Model and the United States," European Union Politics, , vol. 7(3), pages 393-419, September.
    9. Scharpf, Fritz W., 2002. "The European Social Model: Coping with the challenges of diversity," MPIfG Working Paper 02/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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