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Greeks and Social Europe

Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, (2016), «Greeks and Social Europe», EU Forum, 8 Ιουνίου

In pre-crisis Greece, Social Europe used to mean a welcome invitation to make Greece’s living standards converge with those of the rest of the EU. It also meant a less welcome push to introduce into Greece labour market and pension reforms, which would alter a patronage-based divide between insiders and outsiders. European social policies, including active labor market policies and flexicurity, were alien in Greek society. Social Europe was not received well in a society in which many thought that they were entitled to a stable job and welfare benefits, dispensed by the state, by virtue of belonging to a group treated differently from other groups. Examples of insider groups included civil servants, bank employees, journalists and the liberal professions. The majority of the rest were outsiders. An insider-outsider division has been the result of a particular historical legacy of state-society relations.

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