Transnationalization and the Judicialization of Welfare

TransJudFare deals with two challenges for welfare states in the European Union (EU): the transnationalization of citizenship and welfare rights and the judicialization of politics. Teams of political scientists and lawyers in Austria, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are mapping responses to these challenges in five western EU member states.

Until 1 September 2016 the project’s work concentrated on two major aims: Firstly, to determine the shape of central independent variables, i.e. the legal status quo in the five countries under investigation (Germany, UK, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands) and the external problem pressure for these countries stemming from EU law, European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law as well as intra-EU mobility patterns and EU citizens’ de facto access to their host state welfare systems. Secondly, to map the shape of the dependent variables, i.e. the different domestic – political, administrative and judicial – responses to transnationalization of welfare rights and the judicialization of politics. To reach this aim, a wide array of data from different sources (e.g. official documents, newspaper articles, interviews, and statistical data) were collected and analysed, using mainly qualitative methods such as process tracing. This data collecting is well on time. It is already completed for the most part and will be finalized until the end of 2016. In summer 2016, the project started also to work on the final stage of the project’s research plan where the collected data is analysed from a comparative perspective.

First results were presented to and discussed with academic peers at several conferences. First major publications are expected for 2017. In the end, taken all research efforts together, we expect to demonstrate that and to explain why the five EU member states under investigation were all coping, albeit with different means and to varying degrees, with the challenges of transnationalization of welfare and the judicialization of politics in a similar way. All countries were able to shield their national welfare systems from opening pressures stemming from ECJ case law. This has wide implications for future discussions about the reconciliation of national welfare and European integration – e.g. debates about Social Europe or free movement within the EU –, and we expect to have a large and lasting impact on this discussion.

For more information on TransJudFare vistit our website