The European Social Model in Crisis

The European Social Model in Crisis

Is Europe Losing Its Soul?

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

This is the first book to provide a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the impact of the crisis and austerity policies on all elements of the European Social Model. This book assesses the situation in each individual EU member state on the basis of detailed empirical evidence and concrete case studies.

Chapter 2: The Baltic States: Convergence with the European Social Model or further liberalization?

Jaan Masso, Kerly Espenberg and Inta Mierina

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, labour policy


New member states of the European Union (EU), such as the Baltic States, provide a different perspective for a study of the European Social Model (ESM) because transition to a market economy principally started only after they had regained independence, 20 years ago. This process included building new social protection systems and labour market institutions. After 20 years of transition, income levels remain low compared with the EU average, despite strong average growth and convergence. The Baltic States are also characterized by relatively low levels of social expenditure and other differences from the ‘old’ member states. The approach to welfare in the Baltic countries is driven by the limited possibilities of the state to provide social welfare and even enforce the law, but also by ideological considerations. The right-wing politicians in the Baltic States found the Bismarckian model too solidaristic (‘socialist’) and turned to liberal welfare policies.

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