The Greek welfare state in the age of austerity: anti-social policy and the politico-economic crisis

Theodoros Papadopoulos, Antonios Roumpakis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Greece was the first of the countries in the EU periphery engulfed in the so-called sovereign debt crisis that followed the crisis in the financial and banking sectors. . Our chapter begins with a brief discussion of the background to the crisis and explores how multiple and mutually re-enforcing causes created the ‘perfect storm’ conditions for its eruption. This is followed by a critical presentation of the key austerity and deregulatory measures adopted by the Greek government until the end of December 2011. Most of these measures were preconditions for the tranches of the ‘bail out’ loan agreed with the so-called ‘troika’ of lenders, the ad-hoc body comprising representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (ECB/EU/IMF). A discussion of the impact of austerity measures on the economy, welfare and society more generally, as well as our final reflections conclude the chapter. It is argued that the austerity measures and the deregulatory, pro-market, policy reforms prescribed by the ECB/EU/IMF and pursued by consecutive Greek governments have culminated into an anti-social policy that has done nothing to alleviate the crisis. Instead it has severely reduced socio-economic security, traumatized social cohesion and democratic governance and sunk the Greek economy into the deepest and more prolonged recession in recent memory with detrimental effects for the state’s finances and Greek society more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Policy Review 24
Subtitle of host publicationAnalysis and debate in social policy, 2012
EditorsMajella Kilkey, Gaby Ramia, Kevin Farnsworth
PublisherPolicy Press
ISBN (Print)9781447304470
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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