We proudly present you the latest briefing by Václav Bacovský, a Project Manager for the Prague office of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), published on behalf of European Liberal Forum. Why should a paper called Future of European Welfare State be any different from any other publication on welfare? Well, let’s just say that it is made up almost entirely of infographics. And it is accompanied by two superb videos.
Europeans are proud of their high standard of living, social protection and generous provision of various public services. The global financial meltdown and the ensuing sovereign debt crisis in Europe triggered a debate about the sustainability of this model.
This briefing paper argues that welfare state needs to redefine its foundations in Europe because most of the states are not ready for new, upcoming challenges. Sovereign debt crisis, increasing global competition and ever-higher expectations of all citizens about the quality of services provided, changing social norms, growing migration, negative demographic trends: these are just some of the factors that put pressure on national governments to find working formulas for good welfare policies that do not overburden public budgets.
The debate on welfare policies tends to be very technical and drained in details. The aim of the paper is to draw a bigger picture in this field – outlining both the recent and the current development and, in addition, focusing on some possible future trends. The text of this briefing paper is complemented by visualisations of interesting and relevant facts and figures. The focus lies on four major policy areas: education, labour market, healthcare, and pension system. These policies are crucial for the future well-being and stability of the European continent. Even more important is to raise public awareness of the challenges that stand ahead of us.
I would like to thank Leszek Balcerowicz, the former Polish Finance Minister, whose speech during the ELF event in Sopot in October 2015 was the immediate inspiration for this paper.
The complete paper can be downloaded here: http://www.liberalforum.eu/en/publications.html?file=tl_files%2Fuserdata%2Fdownloads%2Fpublications%2F2014%2Ffuture-of-european-welfare-state_webversion.pdf