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Politics of Austerity, Redistribution and the Future of European Welfare States

Political Economy
Welfare State
Political Sociology
Austerity
Eurozone
S06
Stella Ladi
Queen Mary, University of London
Simona Piattoni
Università degli Studi di Trento


Abstract

The Eurozone crisis is over but the austerity doctrine is still alive. Although the European economy has recovered from the depths of the crisis, it is displaying alarmingly low levels of growth bordering on stagnation if not recession. Notwithstanding these worrisome signs, not much has changed in the Eurozone governance and the EU’s economic rules. The continuing emphasis on “stability” (or austerity, depending on the state of member states current accounts) and structural reforms has depressed Europe’s aggregate demand, just when the trade war between the USA and China is also affecting international trade. The European Commission’s new leadership has confirmed the Jobs, Growth and Investment agenda as one of its key priorities. The new President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has promised to fully implement the European pillar of Social Rights and to strengthen Social Europe. Whether this will imply a willingness to revise the EMU rules and to boost investment, including social investment, is to be seen. Both at national and local level, administrations are still constrained in their welfare efforts by the demanding constraints of the Stability and Growth Pact and there seems to be no indication that social investment is considered as contributing to growth as much as fixed capital or productive investment. What are the challenges ahead? What has changed in Europe after the Eurozone crisis and what can we expect from the new Commission? Will the pledge to boost jobs, growth and investment lead to a reassessment of the economic philosophy undergirding the current EMU and to a change in policy orientation? Is the austerity doctrine here to stay or is there a new doctrine emerging? Will the EU encourage economic redistribution and welfare state consolidation? Developments at the member-states level are also interesting. Many countries, and especially the Eurozone countries that received programme funds, have implemented significant structural reforms affecting their labour markets and welfare states. What has been the result of these reforms? Are they still in place or have they been reversed? What has been the political cost for the national political systems and for democracy? What are the implications for the future of the welfare state in Europe? This Section calls for Panels and individual Papers on all of the above issues. Panels and Papers that address questions on austerity, redistribution, structural reforms and the future of European Welfare States from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives are welcome. Comparative Panels and Papers are particularly encouraged.

Code Title Details
P006 After the Crisis: Towards a More Social European Union? View Panel Details
P045 European Solidarity- From Old-Age Theory to Enacted Common Practice I View Panel Details
P046 European Solidarity: From Old-Age Theory to Enacted Common Practice II View Panel Details
P080 Monetary and Fiscal Policies in the EMU: Interactive Effects View Panel Details
P082 National Preferences and the Implementation of Austerity Policies View Panel Details
P122 The Impact of the Crisis on Social and Economic Policies: Labor, Agriculture, Migration View Panel Details