No welfare magnets – free movement and cross-border welfare in Germany and Denmark compared

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Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, Benjamin Werner

A ‘dually open’ free movement system has evolved in the European Union (EU),
granting EU citizens the right to free movement within the Union as well as
cross-border welfare rights. Some scholarly literature and public debates have
characterised the system as corrosive to the nationally organised welfare
state, which will become a ‘magnet’ for the European poor. This paper
examines how the German and Danish welfare states have responded to the
‘dual open’ system and its outcomes in terms of EU citizens’ take-up rate of
non-contributory benefits between 2007 and 2015. We show that the
domestic responses were mostly restrictive and that outcomes remained
rather stable. Our findings do not support the welfare magnet thesis but
instead identify a tendency to a bifurcated social protection system for EU
citizens in Germany.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)637-655
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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