Recently Ellen M. Immergut, Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at Humboldt University of Berlin, has published the Policy Paper "Welfare state futures: supporting solidarity in Europe". The Paper reports the results of the transnational research programme "NORFACE Welfare State Futures".
Public support for solidarity within and between European countries has become frayed after years of austerity and the series of crises that have hit Europe. Although it is still relatively high by international standards, three main trends threaten solidarity: increasing inequalities; problems of legitimacy in welfare states; and the rise of extreme-right parties. In response, the European Union has introduced a new "Pillar of Social Rights". This is an important and potentially fruitful initiative, but it needs to be supported with more of the latest research on the sustainability of welfare states. To this end, this policy brief will report on research results from the NORFACE Welfare State Futures Programme, which was in operation from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2018 and included more than 200 social policy researchers across Europe. It will focus on the pillar’s principle 4 (active support to employment), 11 (childcare and support to children), 16 (health care) and 18 (long-term care), and on both the recommendations and monitoring indicators suggested by the European Commission.