Keywords: Welfare Policy; EU Integration; Social Rights; Citizenship; Hegemony.
In recent years, pressure to restrict welfare access to mobile EU citizens increased greatly. Tensions between cross-border welfare access in the EU and nationally-rooted political loyalties propelled restrictive policies that seek to confine welfare provision to national citizens only. Based on a two-country comparison, the article aims at understanding, and analysing the dynamics of welfare protectionism. By examining the politics that have produced new legal frameworks in Denmark and Germany, the research unveils the actors, ideas, and interests promoting a restrictive agenda for welfare governance in the EU. The evidence suggests that both countries have certain features in common - particularly, a marginalised class of EU10 workers and a means-end orientation to welfare inclusion - that coalesced into a new framework for the freedom of movement which decouples cross-border labour mobility from cross-border social protection.