Inequality in the European Union (EU) Essay

1948 Words 8 Pages
Cumulative European Union (EU) enlargements to include relatively less developed countries such as Bulgaria and Romania, along with the possibility of future EU status being granted to Turkey and Albania (EC, 2011), raises further questions about inequality in the European Union. The global recession has bought the issue of labour market models and resulting inequities back into the forefront political discourse, as government cutbacks necessitate the reappraisal of welfare states and labour market policy. This essay will analyse both differing labour market models and the EU labour market as a whole to explain why EU countries have heterogeneous inequities. Overall, within countries, differing interplay of welfare states, varieties of …show more content…
Inequality and social stratification is high, there is a low level of de-commodification and welfare is provided on a largely means tasted basis. Whilst the UK is not conclusively a liberal regime - the US is the archetypal liberal model - it is the closet aligned in the EU area. Inequality and the resulting social problems are prevalent, with higher than average levels of unemployment, poverty and income inequity (Esping-Anderesen, 1990). In a UK context income inequality in the UK has reached its worst levels since the Second World War, two years before the Beveridge report was published (Resolution Foundation, 2012).. The liberal model is a key driver of inequality in the UK, for example the richest 1% take 10 pence of every £1 earned whereas the bottom 50% of earners take just 18p between them (Resolution Foundation, 2012). Research shows that middle-income earners in the UK have seen wages stagnate in the face of high inflation whilst the richest have increased their wealth for the last thirty years (Resolution Foundation, 2012). The residual nature of the UK’s welfare system reinforces the inequities its liberal labour market creates; welfare is pejorative, a safety net for thus unable to manage otherwise (Spicker, 2008). The liberal model’s reliance on markets and private provision explains polarised distribution of income in the UK, but it is a fairly unique case in Europe. Social democratic and Conservative models

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