Exploring Inequality in Europe
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Exploring Inequality in Europe

Diverging Income and Employment Opportunities in the Crisis

Edited by Martin Heidenreich

Europe has become a dominant frame for the generation, regulation and perception of social inequalities. This trend was solidified by the current economic crisis, which is characterized by increasing inequalities between central and peripheral countries and groups. By analysing the double polarization between winners and losers of the crisis, the segmentation of labour markets and the perceived quality of life in Europe, this book contributes to a better understanding of patterns and dynamics of inequality in an integrated Europe.
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Chapter 9: The European integration process and the social consequences of the eurozone crisis

Jenny Preunkert

Abstract

This chapter discusses whether the conditions imposed by the eurozone bailout funds have contributed to the social problems Southern European Member States and Ireland are facing. Two answers are possible. The first one proposes that the euro rescue funds have focused on the fiscal and economic side of the crisis while ignoring the social problems so far. The second scenario assumes that the European crisis management has defined the social problems as political challenges and therefore supported the national social policy measures to tackle the negative social developments. The analysis shows that the social problems have been recognized within the European crisis policy, however up to now social security systems have been treated mainly as a cost factor that has to be reduced. National assistance has been demanded only in terms of programmes for particular groups.

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