New Varieties of Capitalism
New Horizons in European Politics series
Chapter 8: The new Varieties of Capitalism and the future of the European social model
In this book I have made an attempt to offer a snapshot of the emerging changes in the economic and social fabric of the European Union (EU) at a point when the effects of the most severe crisis in its history have started to become visible. It is now almost forgotten that, before the crisis emerged, the EU concentrated to a large extent on the promotion of a common reformed European social model with the aim of positioning the Single Market distinctively in the global economy. This discussion has since been pushed to the sidelines by frantic attempts to resolve the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. The central question which the now 28 governments in the EU need to address in the near future is if the crisis has made it impossible to present the Single Market externally as more than just a sum of its parts. Since the onset of the financial crisis the EU Commission has increasingly talked about the need to preserve the social models which exist in the member states (European Commission 2010). In contrast, the first half of the past decade since the introduction of the Lisbon Strategy in 2000, was dominated by discussions on how to unify EU member states around a common social model based on best practices in individual member states.
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