The Welfare State in Europe

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This chapter discusses the strengths and weaknesses of European welfare states, which protects citizens in hard economic times. In many countries governments tend to respond with austerity policies that not only undermine the protective function of the welfare state, but weaken its economic, social and political support base. Increasing inequality is one of the observable consequences, which is associated with bad social and political outcomes in terms of health, social mobility, social and political trust, political representation and participation.