The European Social Model

The European Social Model

Modernisation or Evolution?

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy

This timely book explores the development of the European Social Model and questions whether the relatively high level of social protection provided, both in terms of social welfare provision and in the creation of workers’ rights and employment regulation, is sustainable.

Preface

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, labour policy

Extract

A distinguishing feature of economic integration in Europe has been a concern for social, as well as economic development. The creation and consolidation of a European Social Model has been the manifestation of this concern. This model features a relatively high level of social protection, both in terms of social welfare provision and in the creation of workers’ rights and employment regulation. The impact of this model on the economic and social development of Europe has been much debated, but since the 2000 Lisbon Council the Member States have agreed that this model is in need of modernisation. The objective set at Lisbon was of creating in Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world. This was felt by many EU Member States to require fundamental reforms of social policy and the explicit coordination of European social, employment and macroeconomic policies. In the following chapters we explore the current status of European social policy, examine its economic rationale, identify the main factors promoting reform and assess the priorities for reform in the enlarged EU. Our underlying concern is to question whether the successful modernisation of employment regulations and social policies requires a new priority of EU objectives in which economic and employment objectives supersede social ones. In seeking to answer this question we initially examine the history of European social policy and employment regulation and examine the evolution of legal and decision-making processes in the EU. In particular we report the shift towards ‘soft law’ measures and...