European Welfare Models Systems | Challenges to European Welfare Systems
European Welfare Models Systems contemporary state of European welfare models and systems is shaped by the European Union’s guidance and actions. When, in 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed, the European Union initially devised a social policy, which was restricted to free labour movement, societal subsidies, gender equivalence, and management tools for businesses. In period till the 1980s, the EU focused on developing a“welfare state”, which became evident withenactment ofthe Single European Act, promoting social policy in the EU. However, the benefits of this social policy for all EU countries were not limited to businesses (Ardy & El-Agraa, 2011). The “Social Charter” was framed in 1986, which set out the new social policy framework and addressed the usefulness of this new policy to all members of the EU.
Other treaties further expanded the EU’s social policy involvement. The expanded concerns of EU social policy were now to include social health, gender impartiality, societal defence, free labour movement, and basic education for all. The main anti-poverty initiative called “family allowance”, which also includes health assistance and retirement measures (Pestieau, 2006). Moreover, European Social Policy also supported theprivatization of “old-age pensions” and the “health care system” (Gooijer, 2007).
Through these steps, the European Union has devised a uniquely supranational “European Social Model” which has restricted the independence of national governments regarding national social policy (Kaufmann, 2012).Having noted this, the programmes of the European Social Model vary in different states of Europe, but some of the features are present in most of those states. This includes aspects to the tax system, social safety, education sector, occupationsafety, employment facilities, businessdealings, minimum incomes and labour market processes (Neal, 2004). Thus, for the purpose of minimizing inequality, for instance, the European social model has five rudiments, which comprise: “fundamental social rights … social protection … social dialogue … full employment … services of general interest … economics and social cohesion” (European Trade Union Confederation, 2006, p. 9).Each member state will have its own interpretation (and branding) of these policy commitments, but they will all nonetheless be present in all EU States.
With regard to expenditure levels on the welfare programmes, the literature identifies a significant variations in policies and spend (Nikolai, 2011; Hudson & Kühner, 2009). To accommodate these differences, the “Welfare Regimes” typology established by GostäEsping-Andersen (1999; 1990) can be used. Esping-Andersen recognises threemodels of welfare regimes’ by examining the diverse group of values and geographies of country specific welfare systems.Leibfried (1992) and Ferrera (1996) build on this body of work and find a fourth welfare model, which they then also include in so-called typology models (Ferrera, 1996; Leibfried, 2000).
These welfare regimes are distinguishedon the basis ofcapability and sovereignty of entities to be able to withstand societally hostile trends in the market (“de-commodification”), the family (“de-familisation and individualisation of rights”) and the extent of interference of the State in this association. This typology has, though, faced criticism.In this regard, Arts &Gelissen(2002) argued that Spain is quite different from Greece and Finland from Denmark, and yet they have been put in the same typological group.However,and in response, it has been contended that they nonetheless have similar characteristics which distinguish them from other countries in other clusters (Arts & Gelissen, 2002). Sapir (2006) frames the typology of Welfare Regimes on the basis of equity and efficiency;
Esping-Andersen’s Welfare Regime Typology
The Nordic regime or Scandinavian universalistic modelis a wide-ranging regime which is concerned with social participation and universality. It includes countries like Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden, which can be categorized by a densesocialdiscourse andwide-ranging collaboration of social institutions with the State and trade unions greatly influencing the conduct of economic life. The Continental welfare model (including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg) stresses employment as being the fundamental conduct through which the social transfers take place.Here, the welfare is considered as an adjunct associatedwith income. The Anglo-Saxon regime model or liberal regime (including Ireland and the United Kingdom), accentuates the obligation of personsto look after themselves, and welfare transfers are less emphasized, are more directed and “means tested”. In the Mediterranean regime (including Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain), there is less emphasis on social transfers, which are partiallyoffset by the supportingroles played by family systems (Esping-Andersen, 1990; Ferrera, 1996; Leibfried, 2000).
Sapir (2006) argued that he Nordic and the Anglo-Saxon models are more efficient and sustainable in the long term, while the Continental and the Mediterranean are eventually falter. This is because of the flexibility in regulation (evident in labour laws) and the different demographic concentration of cash transfers benefits.Nordic and Anglo-Saxon models focus on transfers between working age people, while Continental and Mediterranean models aim at older people whose numbers will inflate greatly(Sapir, 2006). In summary, this typology overtly and explicitly represents Titmuss’s established models of welfare states. There is, therefore, a high degree of resemblance between the Anglo-Saxon and residual models, between the Continental and performance-achievement frameworks, and the Scandinavian model and institutional redistributive welfare state models. YetTitmuss concentrates only on the welfare state in narrow terms, while Esping-Andersen’s more expansive approach includes the state and market linkas well (Powell & Barrientos, 2008).
European Welfare Models Systems | Challenges to European Welfare Systems
The European regime models are much more than just social models, as theyimpact on employment, production and efficiency and in turn,shapedevelopment, effectiveness and all other purposes of an “economic policy” (Aiginger & Guger, 2005). In the last decade, relatively slow growth of gross domestic product (GDP), (a disputed measure of size and health of an economy) of European economies, when compared to relatively high growth numbers from emerging markets such as India and China, of over 10% a year, or when compared to the United States, have put the various welfare systems under scrutiny (Vlieghere & Vreymans, 2006). Not only that, but the un-funded pension liabilities of companies and governments, which in 2003-2004 averaged around 285% of European GDP(Vlieghere&Vreymans, 2006), could create profound difficulties in the long term for upcoming generations. On top of that, it is recognized that public spending has risen considerably for European countries, while studies suggest that it is inversely correlated with wealth growth, when compared to the GDP (Vlieghere & Vreymans, 2006). The ratio of pension liabilities to public debt as a percentage of GDP is set out for EU Member States for 2003 and 2004.
European Countries Public Debt and Pension Liabilities (in percentage of GDP), where the y-axis demonstrates the GDP percentage.
Programs of Poverty Alleviation: An Overview of European states
This section offers a brief overview of some of the principal social programs of poverty alleviation which governments have been deploying. It also re-examines the conceptual basis for analyzing and evaluating these programs. Moreover highlighting the deficiencies on the basis of this conceptual, analytical reformulation, re-examining processes of social exclusion and policies of social inclusion, in advanced and developing countries.
Alleviation of poverty depends on the welfare systems that are developed or implemented. The questions of poverty has three elements (Besley and Coate, 1992).First, there question about the appropriateness and effectiveness of diverse programs of poverty alleviation(Besley and Kanbur, 1988). Second, there is a political question reading the obligations of the non-poor, and their willingness to support such programs(Bhattarai et al., 2002). Third, there is the question of the involvement of the poor themselves about the rights of participation in these programs or to define how these programs of poverty alleviation should be shaped (Heimer and Thøgersen, 2006, Herring, 2000). These three elements and strains between them are defined as crucial dilemmas of social reform in the field of poverty alleviation (Marris and Rein, 1972).Order Now