Past eventMembers

Can EU Countries Still Afford Their Welfare States?

27 May 2016 - 13:00 to 14:00

Chatham House London, UK


Professor Iain Begg, Professorial Research Fellow, European Institute, LSE; Associate Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House

Clare McNeil, Associate Director for Work and Families, Institute for Public Policy Research

Chair: Quentin Peel, Associate Fellow, Europe Programme, Chatham House



For many in Europe, the values and norms that underpin the continent's social model are at the heart of what it means to be European. The EU accounts for just 7 per cent of the world's population and less than a quarter of its GDP but as much as half of global welfare spending. However, welfare systems face a number of challenges, from pressure on public finances and ageing populations to closer global economic integration and technological advances. How should welfare systems first designed 50 or more years ago be recast to confront today’s challenges? And is migration part of the problem or part of the answer?