European Welfare Futures presents a clear and up--to--date analysis of developments in social policy in the main EU member states. It provides a systematic account of welfare retrenchment and assesses the competing explanations of this process. The authors provide convincing evidence for the view that an a ever closer uniona in social policy will require a much more difficult process than that which led to monetary union. The book makes a major contribution to understanding how welfare policy in Europe will develop over the next few years. It offers an original and wide--ranging account of the forces affecting the direction of policy, and stresses the role of social and political institutions in explaining why countries differ. European Welfare Futures will be essential reading for undergraduates, graduate students and scholars in social policy, sociology, political science, area studies and international relations courses. It will also be of great interest to policy--makers in the EU, especially in the areas of pensions, health, social care and unemployment.