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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article describes the European Union (EU) and its impact on welfare states in Europe. It explores the ways in which European social policy has evolved: regulation, redistribution and the initiation of public debates on Europe's social dimension, and mutual surveillance among national policymakers. It also reviews the controversy over the ‘social dimension of European integration’ when the founding fathers of European integration agreed that economic issues should be at the centre of the joint project. Criteria for evaluating the state of ‘social Europe’ are then presented. Furthermore, the article describes how the EU impacts on different types of welfare states and creates conditions that promote more ‘bounded varieties of welfare’ in the EU, that is, a more restricted variety within limits that are directly or indirectly imposed or reinforced by European integration.

Keywords: European Union, welfare states, European social policy, social dimension, European integration, social Europe

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