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The Europeanisation of social protection$
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Jon Kvist and Juho Saari

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420206

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420206.001.0001

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

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

(p.211) Twelve Greece: the quest for national welfare expansion through more social Europe
The Europeanisation of social protection

Theodoros Sakellaropoulos

Policy Press

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

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