European Social Policy PDF Print

Y17 -European Social Policy

Tutor: Dimitis Venieris

Semester: 4th

ECTS: 4.5

Short Description:

This course is an attempt to present and assess the growing impact of European-level authorities in the promotion of social policy at both national and international level. The European Union and the Council of Europe are discussed as the two leading supranational institutions towards European integration, influencing policy formation and making in welfare at both levels. The course presents the progress and explores the conflicts/compromises towards a European Social Policy. The issues discussed include the basic elements of social adjustment in the process of European integration, the main institutional/historical/political aspects of this integration, the impact of European integration on national-level social protection systems, the transfer of competences from the national to the supra-national European level, the current economic/social/political European context and its impact on the formation of European Social Policy and on the reform of national social policies.


The aim of this course is to help students understand basic concepts, different theoretical approaches and major questions in reference with European Social Policy,and acquaint them with the institutional, economic and political aspects of the process of European Integration. Students will be expected to understand these issues and explore their implications from a broad multi-disciplinary perspective indicating the need/role of supranational social adjustment in a globalised world.

Learning Outcomes:

Students are expected to familiarisethemselves with the evolution, development and impact of the European dimension on social and individual welfare and to:

  • understand basic issues and use basic concepts of the European Social Policy field
  • understand the main approaches to the process of European integration
  • understand and compare different approaches employed in the study of European Social Policy
  • acknowledge the current problems/issues in European Social Policy.


13 three-hour lectures.


Students will be evaluated on the basis of a written examination at the end of the semester.


Esping-Andersen, G. (1999), Social Foundations of Post-industrial Economies. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ferrera, M. (2005) The Boundaries of Welfare: European Integration and the New Spatial Politics of Social Protection. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hantrais L. (2007), Social Policy in the European Union, 3rd edn. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Hemerijck A. (2011), Changing Welfare States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Leibfried, S. and Pierson, P. (eds.) (1995), European Social Policy: Between Fragmentation and Integration, Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.
Marlier, E. and Natali, D. (eds.) with Van Dam, R. (2010) Europe 2020: Towards a More Social EU? Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang.