Welfare State

Welfare State in Europe

Literature Review on Greece: Welfare State

In the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, [1] Maria Petmesidou offers the following summary about the topic of Greece: Welfare State: This entry examines the main characteristics of the Greek welfare state. It consists of two parts. The first part traces the origins of social protection in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and briefly discusses the slow development of coverage in the post-World War II period. It then focuses on the “retarded” (compared to northwest Europe) formation of an, albeit, “weak” welfare state in the 1980s that soon faced serious constraints, particularly in the run-up to the adoption of the Euro. The second part examines reform trends since the eruption of a severe economic and financial crisis in 2009. Accumulated deadlocks in social protection funding, structure, and delivery are exerting strong pressures for system rationalization. Moreover, the bailout deal that Greece signed with its international lenders sets specific reform requirements in major policy fields. We describe and assess the path-breaking reform in pensions and key changes in healthcare. Our main argument is that, although the ongoing reforms (amalgamation of social/health insurance funds and equalization of coverage) seriously face some major predicaments of the Greek welfare state (i.e., high fragmentation and inequalities in coverage), this is not accompanied by policies that could secure adequate (universal) social protection coverage and system sustainability. Instead, a drift toward a welfare state as a “compensator of the last resort” is imminent. This is a highly likely development, as the EU crisis management mechanisms (protracted austerity, dismantling of social and labor protection) tend to undermine some of the core foundations of Social Europe.


Notes and References

  1. Entry about Greece: Welfare State in the Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy (2015, Routledge, Oxford, United Kingdom)

See Also

Further Reading

  • Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance (2018, Springer International Publishing, Germany)

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