‘This book explores the recent history and current positions of a number of European welfare states – specifically Germany, Denmark, Poland and Italy. The author makes the case for the continuing contribution to socio-economic stability made by welfare states in an era that is generally considered to be hostile to “welfare” and public spending. Analysis of the various countries is contextualized by their membership of the EU and the impact of EU economic and social policies on their welfare systems.
Attention is paid to specific features of welfare – notably labour market policies. Outside these, the book explores issues of gender equality and fertility rates in the context of wide-ranging social and economic change.
This volume makes a very interesting contribution to continuing debates about European welfare systems. Students will learn a lot from reading it, particularly because the book covers Eastern European issues as well as the more familiar cases of Germany and the Nordic states. Students will also benefit from the analysis of the EU’s role in country-level social policies, which is limited but somehow “not nothing”. In addition, the book conveys the rather ambivalent place of the EU in “domestic” social policy very well.’
– Nicholas Ellison, University of York, UK