Challenges and Adjustments of Healthcare and Labor Policies in Greece During the COVID-19 Era: A Critical Assessment of the Key Social Policy Responses

  • Stylianos Ioannis Tzagkarakis Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Crete, Greece
  • Michail Melidis Associate Lecturer, Department of Politics, University of Exeter, Greece
Keywords: Welfare state, pandemic, healthcare policy, labor policy


The welfare state in Greece even before the outbreak of the global pandemic experienced multiple challenges and problems mainly as a result of its chronic structural, administrative, and financial problems which were further deteriorated by austerity measures. The pandemic that followed the ten-year economic crisis led to a new multifaceted crisis, adding further pressure on the National Health System as well as on the labor market, and precipitating the uptake of targeted measures and policies to support both the NHS with equipment, staff, and employment due to the imposition of national and local lockdowns. Confronted with such weaknesses, the establishment of a new welfare state would need to bear a higher degree of flexibility, inclusivity, and efficiency in order to live up to the increasing societal, health, and economic demands.  In this sense, the aim of this paper is to explore the variations in health and labor policies (two key pillars of the welfare state) during the COVID-19 pandemic and assess whether there is a need for further interventions with regard to social security and prosperity of citizens. The methods followed include the analysis of secondary quantitative data collected from a range of international and national databases. The analysis shows that – among new challenges such as telework - in the labor market policies, while there is a trend during the pandemic of decreasing in-work poverty and unemployment, still Greece faces more problems than the majority of the EU member states, in terms of job inclusion and poverty reduction. At the level of healthcare policy, during the crisis, although Greece increased its spending on NHS support compared to the pre-pandemic era in 2020, these increases were below those of the majority of EU Member States and structural problems still exist.


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How to Cite
Tzagkarakis, S. I., & Melidis, M. (2023). Challenges and Adjustments of Healthcare and Labor Policies in Greece During the COVID-19 Era: A Critical Assessment of the Key Social Policy Responses. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 19(38), 36.