EUROPE: COVID-19 and the European Social Charter – an arena for the European welfare state debate

About the Project

Research Topic & Roadmap

The COVID-19 crisis had a serious impact on almost all areas of life and led to a massive curtailment of social rights in many areas. At the same time, however, the pandemic also brought a renaissance of the welfare state, which was once again increasingly in the public eye. Throughout Europe, governments took comprehensive social and labor market policy measures to cushion the devastating effects of the pandemic as good as possible and to prevent broad sections of the population from sliding into poverty and precariousness. After only a short time, however, it became apparent that the burden of the crisis was being distributed asymmetrically among different population groups. Members of marginalized groups or people in vulnerable situations are disproportionately affected by a curtailment of social rights. This deepens existing social inequalities and creates new ones.

Together with the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK), the programme line “Social Justice for Disadvantaged Persons” of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) examines from April 2021 to January 2023 the measures taken by selected European countries in response to the COVID-19 crisis and their impact on the welfare state debate. This happens against the background of the European Social Charter and the social rights enshrined therein under international law.

Research Focus

During the project, specific country comparisons will be made regarding the COVID-19 measures taken and their impact on welfare states. The aim is to improve access to the European welfare state debate. It also aims to improve the assessment of the impact of the crisis on marginalized groups and individuals in particularly vulnerable situations.

Primarily, the project is addressed to:

  • researchers
  • human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations
  • social partners
  • policy makers

In addition, the project is closely linked to Karin Lukas’ term as President of the European Committee of Social Rights. The results are continuously fed into her work and are also made available to the public through blog articles, conference papers and other formats.

Research Method

In addition to in-depth secondary research and the observation of quantitative indicators, interviews with experts on social policy and social rights in selected European countries will be conducted.

Project Data