Recasting European Welfare States for the 21st Century
This article places European welfare states squarely in today's European integration context and looks optimistically at social policy perspectives ‘top down’ from the European level. It has the needs of European policy makers in mind, and thus their interests in optimal policy mixes, lessons from national experiences and in a new institutional architecture that links EU member states more effectively into All-European corridors of reform efforts. The authors argue that the overriding need in welfare state reform is to identify new value combinations and institutional arrangements in national systems that are both mixed – in terms of solidarity and growth objectives – and virtuous, that is capable of producing advances on all necessary fronts. The authors recapitulate the EU's present social agenda – where the search for ‘new value combinations’ is seen to be most actively undertaken. They take up the nature of the ‘bottom up’ challenges to, and the adjustment problems of, the four different sets of European welfare states at length and also their differing needs for functional, distributive as well as normative re-calibration. They present core components of an optimal adjustment strategy that could reconcile growth with solidarity. Finally, they focus on different instruments that might further substantiate the role the EU could play in preserving and developing the ‘European Social Model’ in different welfare domains.
Volume (Year): 8 (2000)
Issue (Month): 03 (July)
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