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Abstract

This article investigates how European welfare states respond to reform pressures arising from European integration. We focus on the field of public pensions and examine the impact of two institutional variables that mediate the impact of reform pressures: the extent of public pension provision and the number of national political veto points. We argue that, all else equal, member-states with few veto points and a relatively small public pension sector are the most likely cases of policy change in response to Europeanization, whereas member-states with a high number of veto points and extensive public pension commitments are the least likely candidates for policy change. We test these arguments in four cases of Europeanization in three countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy).