The European Social Model and an Economy of Well-being
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The European Social Model and an Economy of Well-being

Repairing the Social Fabric of European Societies

Giovanni Bertin, Marion Ellison and Giuseppe Moro

This timely book critically examines the European Social Model as a contested concept and concrete set of European welfare and governance arrangements. It offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of new economic models and existing European investment strategies to address key issues within post-Covid-19 Europe.
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Chapter 4: A Europe for all with all? EU Cohesion Policy and social inclusion across EU states and regions

Marion Ellison


The ideological premise and operational capacity of the European Social Model has been significantly weakened in recent years. Here, the notion of a ‘social Europe’ is usually counter-poised against the concept of free-market, neo-liberal models of Europe, (Marti_n Rodri_guez et. al. 2019; Cortese, and Ferri, 2019; Vandenbroucke, et al. 2018). These contradictory tensions have contributed to significant differences in the extent and depth of poverty and inequality between and within European regions and nations, seriously undermining the notion of a single European Social Model. The implications of these differences are clearly revealed by epidemiological evidence within the current Covid 19 health crises. (ONS, 2020; Mavragani, 2020; Saglietto et al. 2020). The emergence of divergent forms of ‘new welfare’ across Europe are indicative of ways in which the philosophical premise of the European Social Model has been re-interpreted in recent years. Crucially however, the European Union was founded on notions of economic and social solidarity with the principle of solidarity being regarded as central to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding with the Lisbon Treaty 2007. The Solidarity Chapter of the Charter is itself central to the European Social Model. The conceptual linkage between social, economic, civil and political rights is fundamental to operationalisation of the European Social Model particularly with regard to the operationalisation of EU Cohesion Policy through funding mechanisms such as the European Social Fund and The European Regional Development Fund. This chapter draws upon extensive research undertaken as part of the INSPIRES European Project (2013-2016) and recent research to critically analyse the role of EU cohesion policies and funding mechanisms on the development of innovative local social policies and measures within differentiated welfare states. Here, placed based, cross-sectoral approaches within distinct forms of multi-level governance are found to play a crucial role in promoting EU wide welfare policy priorities at local level.

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