More than fifteen years ago, there were great differences between OECD countries's social assistance schemes. In the analyses provided in this book, it has been observed that MIP systems in Europe continue to vary substantially between countries. This concluding chapter summarises the findings in line with the three research questions that were defined in the Introductory Chapter. In this chapter, the similarities and differences between European MIP systems are evaluated in light of the different welfare state contexts. Second, the chapter discusses the issues of changes over time. And lastly, the chapter assesses the short-term impact of the current economic crisis. The chapter also concludes that MIP systems do not only matter for the marginalised population groups but are also important for the population as a whole. MIP systems have become an important instrument of social protection in most countries. While MIP systems have a significant role on many welfare states, MIP does not exist in every country as a firmly established right that is of equal status with other citizenship rights. MIP systems are weak and patchy and often they do not effectively protect those persons who are most in need. From the data, results and comparative analyses undertaken in this field, the most solid conclusion is that most countries and the EU have a long way to go in order to achieve the goal of a ‘Social Europe’.
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