The chapter discusses the EU’s external action in the social domain by considering two policy areas that have been largely neglected by academic research: development cooperation and global health. Most available studies concentrate on labour provisions in EU bilateral trade agreements; but whereas the latter are mostly non-binding regulations, intervention in the above-mentioned fields entails a redistribution of resources in favour of developing countries, which directly affects the well-being of poor people across the world. The analysis puts into focus the 15 years following the turn of the century and documents the meteoric rise and fall of the EU’s external social policy ambitions. The first section highlights the EU’s narrative on the social dimension of globalization, while the following two sections provide an overview of what the EU has done in the two areas under investigation, by contrasting discourse and policy practice. The evidence presented points to a mismatch between what EU institutions say and what they actually do. The last part of the chapter attempts to explain the mismatch by considering internal dynamics of EU policy-making, and the power balance between the EU and member states concerning foreign policy issues.
Valeria Fargion and Stefania Profeti
The chapter discusses the nature and relevance of the social dimension in both the regulations and operational programmes of Cohesion policy, with a specific focus on the 2007_2013 and 2014_2020 programming periods. A distinction is made between measures oriented at increasing employment and those which are more explicitly devoted to social inclusion, in order to assess: (1) whether _ in line with the discourse in official documents _ the balance between the opposing rationales underpinning Cohesion policy (that is, increasing competitiveness, on the one hand; and promoting solidarity, on the other) has actually shifted in favour of equity and social inclusion; and (2) whether (and to what extent) European Union (EU) institutions are able to steer the national process of fund allocation while preserving a coherent policy strategy. Although, since 2012, EU institutions have undertaken several initiatives aimed at reinforcing the Europe 2020 social and anti-poverty dimension, their effective impact remains unclear. In the authors’ view, social inclusion is still apparently caught between the entrepreneurial role of socially oriented EU bodies and the ordinary political bargaining between EU institutions and national governments.