The European Social Model
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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.
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Chapter 2: The EU Legal and Decision-Making Context

Nick Adnett and Stephen Hardy


2.1 INTRODUCTION In the first chapter we examined the development of the European Social Model (ESM) and suggested that soft law was seeking to usurp hard law as a method of co-ordination, post-enlargement. In this chapter we examine the legal basis for European social and employment policies. We also assess the impact of the successive Treaties on the decision-making processes relating to economic and social rights at work in an extended Europe. This assessment re-examines the role of the EU Commission in the decision-making process. In section 2.2 we establish the legal base supporting EU social policy, following this in section 2.3 with an explanation of the central role played by the EU Member States in the implementation of EU social policy. Section 2.4 explains the importance of the transposition of EU Directives in the EU legislative process. In section 2.5 we evaluate an alternative legislative method introduced in the previous chapter: social dialogue. Social dialogue is consistent both with the development of the Open Method of Co-ordination and with soft acquis prevailing over hard law. Section 2.6 introduces some of the problems generated by the previous reliance upon hard law, whereas in section 2.7 we re-examine the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in determining social policy. Globalisation together with increased economic integration have renewed fears of social dumping, which are introduced and analysed in section 2.8. The principle of subsidiarity as a basis for dividing responsibilities for social policy legislation is critically examined in section 2.9....

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