Universiteit Leiden

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Challenges to European Integration: welfare states and free movement in the EU

On Monday December 17th the ILS 2.0, SOLID project will hold an afternoon Symposium on ‘Challenges to European Integration: welfare states and free movement in the EU’ from 11.45 – 16.30. The symposium will take place in room A.014 at the Kamerlingh Onnes Building (Steenschuur 25) of Leiden Law School.

Session Content

European welfare states are under pressure - the extent to which Union citizens can access welfare in a host-Member State is a controversial and highly sensitive political issue, and one which divides opinion in a crisis-hit Europe. Migration within Europe has challenged us to reconsider how to organise the welfare state. Preserving the welfare state’s advantages entails the limiting of access to benefits for certain persons, meaning national welfare arrangements are by their very nature closed systems. These closed systems need boundaries to distinguish between those who are ‘in’, and those who are ‘out’, and make clear that only certain persons are entitled to certain benefits. In contrast to national welfare systems the process of European integration, in particular freedom of movement, demands more openness. As such, states are trapped in a ‘liberal paradox’. The free movement of people within Europe and its associated labour migration challenges national welfare states. Whilst it has been demonstrated and politically contested that immigration affects national welfare states, it is still not fully understood why and how this happens. This symposium aims to contribute to increased understanding of the relationship between labour migration and welfare in the light of European integration.

About the Symposium

The symposium is a part of the Leiden University project “SOLID: Solidarity under strain - A legal, criminological and economic analysis of welfare states and free movement in the EU”, which aims to make a significant contribution to the quest of finding the elusive balance between Member State ‘sovereignty’ with regard to welfare system organisation and the protection of rights of all Union Citizens, and assess the role which solidarity does and should play in the realisation of this delicate balance. This symposium aims to explore the ways in which immigration structurally challenges and changes the organisation and conceptual boundaries of national welfare states. Each invited researcher will present a paper from within the general theme of ‘welfare states and free movement in the EU’ to then be commented on by a discussant before being opened to the audience for discussion.

You can find more detailed information in the attached program.

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