Chapter

Greece: the quest for national welfare expansion through more social Europe

Theodoros Sakellaropoulos

in The Europeanisation of social protection

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9781847420206
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303794 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420206.003.0012
Greece: the quest for national welfare expansion through more social Europe

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This chapter analyses and explains Greece's official response to the EU's evolving social policy. Understanding this response requires a careful consideration of the four important factors that influence the overall Greek attitude towards the European integration project. These factors are: the country's economic underdevelopment compared to other EU countries; the late and inadequate development of social structures and the welfare state; the wide consensus among major political parties on European integration, based on the predominance of political criteria; and the underdevelopment of civil society and the ineffectiveness of public administration. Greece's reactions to EU policies and initiatives on employment and social protection in recent years were neither sufficient nor consistent nor clear. This problem is reflected by the absence of Greek responses to EU documents. Positions on EU policies are scattered and are accessible to a very closed circle of technocrats near the Prime Minister. In addition to the exclusion of highly educated public servants, Greek ministries do not always pay close attention to EU matters and Greece cannot decisively formulate national positions on European social issues, even in a general way. The Europeanisation of Greek social policy is not always a dynamic process. Although Greek social policy follows the general pace of other Member States, it does not exhibit particular enthusiasm or inspiration. Greek governments are trapped in the quest for pan-European social integration, hence they underestimated and responded unwillingly to ‘minor’ Europan social initiatives such as the open method of coordination, the Green Paper, and the Social Policy Agenda. Greece needs to adopt a more proactive approach and strengthen the managerial and planning capacities of public administration, while granting more authority to medium-level policy makers.

Keywords: Greece; EU; European integration project; EU policies; Europeanisation; Greek social policy; social integration; Green Paper; Social Policy Agenda

Chapter.  6591 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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