The Virtual Reality of Welfare Reform 1
The aim of this chapter is to present an overview of social policy developments in the last couple of decades in Greece and to highlight the major welfare reform trends by examining social security, health and employment policy. Social policy reflects the legacy of a heavily politicised and centralised policy-making process, impoverished administrative infrastructure and poorly developed social services. It lacks continuity, planning and coordination while it remains oriented towards short-term political expediency. Social provision is largely insurance-based, reproducing huge inequalities and institutional arrangements that are outmoded compared to other European countries. It provides mainly cash benefits, low quality but rather expensive health services and marginal social welfare protection. In this context, social policy has never employed a far-reaching redistributional or antipoverty strategy.