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The EU Crisis and Citizens Support for a European Welfare State

Jürgen Gerhards, Holger Lengfeld & Julia Häuberer

Berlin Studies on the Sociology of Europe No. 30 | Februar 2014 | Download als pdf



Some scholars have argued that the only way to resolve the Euro crisis would be to further pursue the path of deepening the integration process by institutionalising a European welfare state. In this paper we question whether a Europeanised welfare system would be supported by European citizens. We argue that the legitimacy of a harmonisation of national welfare regimes is established if two conditions are met: Firstly, if a majority of citizens support a Europeanised social policy, and secondly, if potential cleavages which structure attitudes towards European social policy are relatively weak. Using data from a survey conducted in Germany, Poland, and Spain, descriptive findings show that a majority supports the idea of Europeanisation of social policy. Further, multivariate analysis prompts the conclusion that the chances of the emergence of social cleavages are relatively small. This brings us to an optimistic conclusion: We suppose that the potential for political mobilisation against Europeanisation of social policy is rather low.

Soziologie - Euiropäische Gesellschaften