Shaping the Social Market Economy after the Lisbon Treaty: How ‘Social’ Is Public Economic Law?
15 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2019
Date Written: September 4, 2019
Since the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, public authorities in the European Union (EU) operate within a social market economy. This socioeconomic model inherently contains an initial promise that social objectives – in addition to economic objectives – have an important role to play in creating this context. Whilst aiming to contribute to social objectives and, thus, shape their part of this economy, public authorities are frequently faced with the possibilities and the often emphasised limitations of public economic law, which most prominently includes EU public procurement law, EU state aid law and EU competition law. This contribution considers the legal tensions that can arise when these authorities aim to pursue social objectives within the remit of these fields of law. Based on the areas of sustainability and employment, it argues that public economic law contains various suitable instruments for the pursuit of these objectives, but also that differences still exist between how a balance is struck between the ‘economic’ and the ‘social’, thereby creating obstacles for public authorities and their social agenda.
Keywords: social market economy, social objectives, economic objectives, social deficit, public procurement law, competition law, state aid law
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