ETUI Symposium : The sovereign debt crisis, the EU and welfare state reform
ITUH, Bd du Roi Albert II, 5; 1210 Brussels, ETUI meeting room 7th floor; 11h00-14h30

This symposium is based on contributions from the recently published special issue of the journal Comparative European Politics on the EU’s responses to the sovereign debt crisis and how this has affected welfare state reforms in the Member States most severely hit by the crisis. The findings which were presented at this occasion will demonstrate that the nature of EU intervention into domestic welfare states has changed, with an enhanced focus on fiscal consolidation, increased surveillance and enforcement of EU measures. Overall, this represents a radical alteration of EU integration, whereby the EU is involved in domestic affairs to an unprecedented degree, particularly with regard to national budgets, of which welfare state spending is an important component. Since these changes are highly institutionalized, the speakers argued that it is necessary that the EU encourages social investment much more than it does presently.


11:00 Welcome and introductory remarks by Philippe Pochet, Director European Trade Union Institute

A new era of European Integration? Governance of labour market and social policy since the sovereign debt crisis
Caroline de la Porte, Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Denmark

National social and labour market policy reforms in the shadow of EU bail-out conditionality: The cases of Greece and Portugal
Sotiria Theodoropoulou, European Trade Union Institute, Brussels


12:30 Sandwich lunch

13:00 From austerity to permanent strain? The EU and welfare state reform in Italy and Spain
Emmanuele Pavolini, Department of Political Science, Communication and International Relation, Macerata University, Italy

‘Pushing against an open door’: Reinforcing the neo-liberal policy paradigm in Ireland and the impact of EU intrusion
Fiona Dukelow, School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

Chair and comments: Maria Jepsen, Director of the Research Department of the ETUI