This paper evaluates the impact of austerity measures on national social protection mechanisms and on the European Social Model. The study is based on an in-depth analysis of austerity measures adopted in Italy and Portugal and the evolution of several indicators, such as unemployment rates and the percentage of citizens at risk of poverty.

The analysis demonstrates that measures adopted in the field of new economic governance have had an impact on the organization and provision of SGEIs and have affected the solidity of the national welfare state. It will be argued that in this context the promotion of a social dimension of the EU requires innovative methods for the regulation of new economic governance.

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