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Policy Dialogue
European welfare states: How effective are they in supporting the poor?

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Welfare State has a long tradition in Europe and is well embedded in the European Union’s value system. However, it is also clear that there are significant variations across the EU in terms of how social insurance and public provision are delivered, with different models being employed across the continent. For example, some member states favour the principle of universality while others have focused on developing means-tested systems.

The 2008 economic and financial crisis has impacted on the capacity of European welfare states to protect and support thmost vulnerable, raising questions over whether and which European welfare states invest enough in the human and social capital needed to make systems more resilient to economic shocks. It also raises questions over how well-equipped the EU is to help protect the poor and less well-off, and whether there are additional instruments that could be developed to complement the existing efforts to meet the aims of the Europe 2020 strategy.

In this context, the World Bank presented its latest EU Regular Economic Report (EURER), ‘Sustaining Recovery, Improving Living Standards’, at this European Policy Centre (EPC) Policy Dialogue, chaired by Claire Dhéret, Senior Policy Analyst, EPC. A panel of experts and policy makers explored the findings of the report, the effectiveness of current EU and national policies, and considered potential future approaches.

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