Income inequality in the Netherlands is below the European Union average. The most egalitarian countries with respect to income are Sweden and Denmark. In Greece, Portugal and Great-Britain income differences are (relatively) large.
The reason for the gap between the rich and the poor in the Southern European and Anglo-Saxon countries is the absence of an effective social safety net. In the case of unemployment, families are assumed to fend for themselves. In the Scandinavian countries and also in the Netherlands, the government pursues redistribution of income up to a certain level.
In the fifteen countries which constituted the European Union prior to 1 May 2004, income inequality is as large as in the new member states.
Income inequality in Europe, 2007*
Marion van den Brakel