Free Movement as a Threat for Universal Welfare States?

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The free movement of workers has been a cornerstone of the European Union since it was founded in 1957. A gradual improvement of rights to groups other than workers has implied that rights related to free movement have already had an impact on universal welfare states’ social security arrangements, especially in the area of pensions. Given the enlargement of the past 10 years and a strong increase in inter-EU migration this impact might even increase. This article, using Denmark as a case study, looks at how, over time, free movement may lead towards convergence and thereby Europeanization of welfare states in Europe. It focuses especially on the pressures brought to bear on the universality of the Danish welfare state, thereby moving it away from one of the distinctive characteristics of the Nordic welfare state model: the universal access to benefits. It also raises the question of whether or not recent developments are once again opening the debate on social dumping in Europe.

TidsskriftEuropean Review
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)388-402
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2014


  • free-movement, EU,

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