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Joan Costa-Font


Joan Costa-Font is an Associate Professor (Reader) of Political Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is a research associate at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and CESifo network research fellow. He has been research fellow at Harvard University and visiting fellow at Boston College (CRR), Oxford University (IA) and the University of Munich (CES). His recent books include Federalism and decentralization in European health and social care (with Scott Greer, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 2012) and The LSE companion to health policy (with Alistair McGuire, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham 2012).

Asymmetry calls for innovative federal structures. Rather than importing existing models of federalism, we should be thinking about what realistic model Europe ought to have. Such a model should allow Britain to have a genuine ‘special relationship’, very much as the Catalans and Scots aspire to a special ‘status’ if they are to remain part of their existing states.
Times of economic downturn are not, in contrast to what as some say, an opportunity to shrink the welfare state, but to improve social programmes and to make them more sustainable. Welfare programme design is more necessary than ever to sustain European standards of living and it should begin by accepting that not all welfare state policies are productive. In other words, the survival of Europe as defined here depends upon getting the welfare state reform right.