EU Governance, Social Protection and Employment Policies in Europe
Edited by Jean-Claude Barbier, Ralf Rogowski and Fabrice Colomb
Chapter 2: EU governance of sustainable development: Social and environmental policies
Sustainable development is an elusive concept that encompasses the macroeconomic and the social, as well as the environmental. It has become a defining principle of European socio-economic development, but is also beset by many uncertainties which bear on how it is interpreted in governance terms. This chapter reviews the governance of sustainable development in the EU in the light of the many uncertainties and conceptual ambiguities that surround policy-making in this area. Although sustainability offers an appealing conceptual framework for the socio-economic development of the EU, a key conclusion of the chapter is that it struggles to provide clear directions for decision-making. Nevertheless, it will remain important as a norm for the EU’s future development.
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