The European debt crisis had a major impact on economy and society. Rising debt levels and an increase in unemployment forced European states to react. Therefore the effects of austerity measures that were applied after the outbreak of the debt crisis are taken as basis for this thesis. In the course of this thesis the question “What effects did austerity measures have on the prevailing welfare state regimes in Europe?” is going to be answered. After describing the core concept of the welfare state and the different types of European welfare regimes, the thesis addresses the social framework of the UK, Germany, Sweden and Spain. They differ in the scope of benefits, protection and accessibility. Due to different preconditions the effects caused by austerity on Spain and the UK were more severe than on Germany and Sweden. Sweden already applied reforms after the Nordic crisis in the 1990s and managed to overcome the debt crisis within a short period of time. While Germany was able to recover from the crisis quickly, Spain and the UK were suffering from high deficits and rocketing national debt levels. All three countries applied austerity measures and restructured their welfare regimes. The scope of reforms differed but the outcomes were similar.