Envisioning European Solidarity between Welfare Ideologies and the European Social Agenda
Innovation, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 75-92, 2007
18 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2010
Date Written: 2007
This article uses the debates of the Working Group ‘Social Europe’ of the European Convention for the Future of the European Union that drafted the Constitutional Treaty to explore the views on the European social model among representatives of the European political class. The debates within the European Convention on basic social values, social objectives, the Union’s competences, the open method of coordination, the coordination of social and economic policies as well as the role of social partners provide insight into the emerging visions of European solidarity at the crossroads between welfare regime ideologies and Europeanization. It is argued that, despite an overall consensus regarding a greater future role of the European Union in social policy, the contours of the European social model and the scope of the Union’s competences remain contested. However, the observed cleavages are to be found mainly on the left-right political scale, and this suggests that we might gradually be observing a re-politicization of the social policy discourse at European level. Nevertheless, the holding on to arguments of subsidiarity and especially sovereignty represents a barrier to envisioning European solidarity and developing a stronger European social agenda.
Keywords: European Convention, the European Union, social policy, Lisbon treaty, solidarity, welfare state
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