Chapter 3: Toward a Sustainable European Social Model: Key Issues for Policy-Making
3. Towards a sustainable European social model: key issues for policy-making Maria João Rodrigues The reform of the European social model is one of the most complex issues in the general debate about the future of Europe. The model is the product of a long and complex historical attempt to promote economic growth with social justice. Brieﬂy, social policy is about social justice and contributing to growth and competitiveness. Conversely, growth and competitiveness are crucial for and should be designed to support social policy. Economic and social policies evolve over time and are therefore always part of the political debate and social dialogue. This is the European tradition, an achievement that is valued inside and outside Europe because of its contribution to prosperity and quality of life. Many diﬀerent models have emerged from this tradition. The most wellknown typologies refer to the Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon, Continental and South European models (Esping-Andersen in Rodrigues, 2002; Sakellaropoulos and Berghman, 2004). Despite the diﬀerences between them, they share certain features, so that one can speak of the European social model. These are: increased general access to education and training; regulated labour contracts; general access to social protection and healthcare; active policies for social inclusion; social dialogue procedures; and the predominance of public funding via taxes or social contributions, with a redistributive eﬀect. These elements were shaped diﬀerently in each historical period, depending on existing institutional frameworks and actors, and on their responses to the strategic challenges of their...
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