Economy and Society in Europe

Economy and Society in Europe

A Relationship in Crisis

Edited by Luigi Burroni, Maarten Keune and Guglielmo Meardi

While an economy is always ‘embedded’ in society, the relationship between the two is undergoing profound changes in Europe, resulting in widespread instability which is emphasised by the current crisis. This book analyses these changes, and in particular pressures of intensifying international competition, globalization and financialization within Europe.

Chapter 2: The Social Dimension of European Integration

Maarten Keune

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, labour policy


Maarten Keune INTRODUCTION 1. European integration has been advancing steadily since the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951, the predecessor of the European Economic Community (EEC, later European Community or EC) established in 1967, which later turned into today’s European Union (EU). One remarkable feature of this process has been its geographical extension, from the six original ECSC countries to the present 27 EU member states. The other is the broadening and deepening of integration. Where the ECSC initially concerned the creation of a common market for coal and steel, in the present EU the Single Market concerns most economic activities and the scope of integration has been broadened to common policies in a wide range of other issues, one way or the other touching upon most economic, social, political and environmental aspects of life. Few would contest that economic integration forms the core of the integration process and that it is here that integration is most advanced. The Single Market consists of a very extensive body of European level economic regulations and national governments have transferred much of their sovereignty in this field to the European level. Also, already 17 EU countries have joined the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), sharing a common currency, a European Central Bank and a common macro-economic policy framework. But to what extent has negative integration been matched by positive integration and what have the social effects of European integration been, both in terms of the development of social...

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