Southern Europe between Social Rights and the Economic Crisis: The Welfare States in Time of Austerity. An Introduction
In this introduction to the Special Issue on the welfare states of the Southern European countries we rst brie y review the literature about welfare regimes and, then, we inquire whether the peculiarities of the Mediterranean welfare regime have been challenged in the recent years by some structural changes and by the austerity measures that have been introduced in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal in order to deal with the current economic recession. Moreover, also basing on the papers included in this special issue, we summarize the main contents of the reforms introduced in these four countries and discuss the implications of some crucial changes that have recently concerned the modalities of the policy making.
Keywords: Southern European Countries; Welfare regimes; Austerity packages; Welfare reforms