The answer from Eurozone governments and the EU’s institutions to the financial crisis emphasised fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. Many social democratic parties across Europe supported a package of austerity, privatisation, public sector liberalisation and labour market flexibility policies, as well as the use of taxpayers’ money to recover the losses of the financial sector. The perception has been that the costs for the crisis have been assigned to working people, while the postwar social contract on which welfare-democracies were built has been called into question.

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