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European welfare state: current challenges and perspectives

Maastricht Summer School
Netherlands, Maastricht
Maastricht Summer School Netherlands, Bonnefantenstraat 2, 611 KL Maastricht, The Netherlands
Tuition fee €1,000.00 per programme


This course deals with the social policy characteristics of the European welfare state. The recent economic crisis and developments in the EU have led to a rise in poverty and unemployment (among the youth in particular), as well as an upsurge in right-wing parties. This has created a challenging framework for policy-makers and individuals alike. The living conditions are deteriorating for many member states (e.g. Greece), and solidarity and various social benefits are decreasing rapidly.

Throughout the course, students will learn about citizen involvement in social problems (e.g. poverty, unemployment, exclusion on various grounds) within their communities and country. At the end of the course, students will be able to act as a social policy analyst and troubleshoot various social situations.

The course consists of 3 sections:
1. The introduction discusses the key theories of social policy, introduces the students to the welfare state concept and explores their historical development in Europe and other parts of the world;
2. The analytical section focuses on specific social programmes (poverty alleviation, social assistance, pensions systems and the classification of the welfare state);
3.The operational section relates to the practical mechanism behind how the welfare state operates in the EU, requiring students to deepen their understanding of how social policy structures interact. It includes a simulation exercise to experience how policy-makers make decisions in practice.

I. Burlacu
K.J.M. Willems
M.J. Feeney

Recommend literature
•Barr, N.A. (2012), ‘The Economics of the Welfare State’ (Ch. 2,4,5). Oxford University Press, Oxford.
•OECD (2013) “Pensions at a Glance 2013: OECD and G20 Indicators”, OECD Publishing.
Wallace, Polack & Young (2015) “Policy Making in the European Union”, Ch. 11 “Social Policy: Left to the Judges and the Markets?”
•Cini & Borragan (2013) “European Union politics”, Ch. 21 “The European Union’s Social Dimension”

Apply now!
Application start
Feb 1, 2019
Application deadline
Jun 1, 2019 23:59
Europe/Amsterdam time

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States