Welfare State Systems and Notions of Solidarity in the 'refugee Crisis': A Comparative Perspective

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Room J7 (J361) (University of Glasgow)
Katharina Crepaz , Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy & Technical University of Munich
Solidarity has become one of the most frequently invoked concepts during the developments of the so-called 'Refugee Crisis'. European Institutions are calling for a solidary mode of allocating refugees across EU member-states (a concept commonly referred to as "burden-sharing", frequently cricitized for solely focusing on intra-EU solidarity while neglecting humanitarian solidarity), while the member-states range from desperately pleaing for more support (e.g. Italy, Greece) to flat out rejecting any type of quota system (e.g. the Visegrad-states). However, member-states' reactions are not only influenced by their geopolitical position, but also by their internal political preferences, the type of welfare state system and the resulting social policy approaches. Drawing on Esping-Andersen's (1990) typology of Welfare States and the addition of a fourth, Southern European type by Ferrera (1996), my paper will comparatively look at a social democratic (Sweden), a conservative (Germany) and a mediterranean (Italy) type of welfare state, tracing how welfare state traditions and social policy measures create and relate to different notions of solidarity in the 'refugee crisis'. All three case studies constitute primary actors in the refugee developments, as all have been faced with a considerable influx of people. Also, the three countries traditionally hold different approaches to migration and diversification: Sweden views itself as a multi-cultural society, while Germany and Italy have had significant difficulties coming to terms with becoming a destination for migrants. A sense of community and shared values are frequently named as prerequisites for sustainable solidary behavior; a more diverse society may negatively impact solidarity.