From Austerity to Permanent Strain? The European Union and Welfare State Reform in Italy and Spain

Part of the Work and Welfare in Europe book series (RECOWE)


This chapter makes a comparative analysis of the trajectories of welfare change in Italy and Spain since the outbreak of the financial crisis. We look at the differences in the types of institutional design to study welfare reform in these two countries and assess how recent changes have affected welfare state institutions. This chapter also assesses the level of the European Union (EU) involvement through formal instruments around the European Semester as well as by the means of agreements with the Troika and the European Central Bank (ECB). For this part of the analysis, three sets of documents have been used: Commission Recommendations and Council Decisions in relation to Excessive Deficit Procedures (EDP); Commission country-specific Recommendations based on Stability or Convergence Programmes, and Policy Measures to boost growth and jobs (National Reform Programmes). These documents allow an analysis of the contents of formal adjustment pressures. Other documents and sources (including newspaper articles) have also been analysed to look at the role of conditionality and ‘backroom’ diplomacy.


European Union Welfare State European Central Bank European Monetary Union Labour Market Policy 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SPOCRI DepartmentMacerata UniversityMacerataItaly

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