The EPSR and the Next Generation EU: Heralding a reconfiguration of social protection in South Europe?

Maria Petmesidou, Rui Branco, Emmanuele Pavolini, Sergio Gonzalez Begega, Ana Marta Guillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates the transformative potential of the Next Generation EU (NG-EU) initiative in social protection taking South European (SE) countries as a test case. It starts with a brief examination of the main social parameters of the EPSR and how these intertwine with the NG-EU strategy that links recovery from the pandemic with the EU's long-term green and digital transition objectives. This is followed by a comparative overview of the SE countries' social, green and digital outlook when embarking upon the recovery path. In light of these, the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) of the four countries are scrutinised vis-a-vis the NG-EU specified priority flagship areas. The political background of the plans, the impact of the EPSR on their policy options, and their recalibration potential are comparatively analysed. In setting the course for a twin transition, all four plans share a focus on addressing long-standing social challenges mainly by bolstering productive welfare measures. But path-dependent differences in policy mixes and varying policy integration can weigh significantly on outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-512
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Policy & Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • EPSR
  • South Europe
  • National recovery and resilience plans
  • Next generation EU
  • Social investment
  • Welfare recalibration


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