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85 Working Paper

Redesigning the Spanish and Portuguese Welfare States: The Impact of Accession into the European Union

2001 – Ana Guillén, Santiago Álvarez and Pedro Adão e Silva


Despite the fact that the norms issued by the European Union regarding the regulation of social protection policies are scant, becoming a member of such a supranational institution can be expected to have influenced the redesign of welfare states. The present paper assesses the extent to which the enlargement of the EU towards the South has impacted the reform of social policies. In particular, it focuses on the cases of Spain and Portugal. The paper includes both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis. From the quantitative point of view, it assesses the evolution of financing and expenditure trends. From the qualitative point of view, it analyses direct and indirect effects of EU membership on social policy, and considers the development of social policy in the domestic sphere in relation to the European Social Model. The concluding section discusses the influence of both external and internal interests and challenges in the redesign of the Spanish and Portuguese welfare states.