Keywords: social policy, welfare systems, Mediterranean countries, North Europe.
The economic crisis in Europe and its repercussions have altered the scene for social policy delivery. New social and economic divides are emerging and fiscal austerity urges member states to resettle the policy discourse and efficiently advance social needs. In line with the above, the need for context-sensitive research is prevalent on the inextricable links between the pertinent goal of raising economic and social welfare along with macroeconomic stability. Thus, the current paper argues for the unification of such diverse strands of analysis and underscores their policy implications that lie at the core of different political, economic and social settings. The scope of this paper is to provide guidance concerning the underlying determinants of cross-country variations in the shape of welfare policies at the European level with a particular societal focus on Southern countries and the accompanying performance of welfare systems in a comparative perspective. Moreover, the necessity to bridge the hiatus between theoretical approaches and empirical findings is increasingly pertinent.