EU Governance, Social Protection and Employment Policies in Europe
Edited by Jean-Claude Barbier, Ralf Rogowski and Fabrice Colomb
Chapter 15: Social services of general interest in France: The uncertain impact of the increasing reach of EU law
Social services of general (economic) interest (SSGIs) provide an interesting case for studying the influence of EU law on social protection systems. A sociological inquiry into this matter discovers a situation of uncertainty among actors in France. This uncertainty is legal, not in the strict sense legal scholars attach to the concept, but in the sense of the perception by social actors of the uncertain legal context to which they have to adapt to continue to manage and provide social services they had been traditionally delivering until the beginning of the 2000s. We describe the gradual transformation of the sector, and its partial ‘economization’, which dates much further back than the ’arrival’ of EU law; this leads to stressing the factors of transformation that make it relatively autonomous in a multilevel governance context. This is especially analysed in two key sub-sectors of the social services sector: childcare and long-term care for elderly persons.
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