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Social Europe


Course may be subject to change


Registration for the Minor European Union Studies or admission to the pre-master European Union Studies.


The rapid development of European welfare states and the European integration project were among the most important developments of postwar European history. From the beginning of the European project, many argued that a European social union must accompany the building of an internal market. By and large, however, European governments have preferred to retain national control over the core features of social policy. In this course, we will (1) consider the debate over “social Europe” in the history of European integration and in public debate today, (2) compare the development of the welfare state and social policies of various European countries and (3) examine the challenge that supranational economic integration in an enlarged European Union and the broader process of globalization pose to the future of national welfare systems in Europe.

Course objectives

  • To provide students a comparative overview of national social systems and the core features of modern welfare policies in Europe

  • To provide students an overview of the debate on the impact that European integration has on national welfare systems

  • To consider together in class discussions and in a written assignment the future of welfare in Europe during a period of globalization and austerity.

Mode of instruction

to be announced.

Course load

to be announced.

Assessment method


20%: Class attendance and participation
20%: Presentation comparing a social policy field of two European countries
20%: A short paper comparing a social policy field of two European countries
40%: A written reflection on the future of welfare in Europe including policy recommendations


to be announced.


to be announced.

Reading list

A complete list will be provided in class but will include writings (and audio lectures) by prominent voices in public discussions today, including Thomas Piketty and Wolfgang Streeck


Through uSis


Blackboard will be used.

Contact information

Mw. Drs. E.J. Walstra