Social minimum in the new welfare state: minimum income protection in Slovenia

WP 2WEL 4/2013

Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


Notwithstanding the shift towards a social investment welfare state advocated by the EU and detected by a number of theoretical studies, the guarantee of an adequate social minimum on which the frame of the new welfare should be based is often lacking, largely sidelined by prevailing drives for retrenchment. This paper aims at assessing the validity of this claim, using minimum income protection as yardstick. We start with a glance at the current state of minimum income schemes across EU Member States and then move to an in-depth case study: Slovenia. Relying on the benchmarks recently suggested by the European Parliament, we assess the efficacy and efficiency of the Slovenian minimum income scheme (Financial Social Assistance) after the latest “activation reforms”. The interplay of social assistance with the traditional unemployment insurance scheme is also examined: as a consequence of a gradual erosion of the latter, in Slovenia targeted minimum income protection has de facto become the main shock absorber for a considerable number of unemployed. This expansion of social assistance reinforces the need to rise the adequacy of minimum income protection in the whole EU in order not to neglect the social minima that should serve as essential basis for the development of a truly inclusive new welfare paradigm.