Enlargement, Integration and Reform
Edited by Peter Leisink, Bram Stejin and Ulke Veersma
: Introduction Peter Leisink, Bram Steijn and Ulke Veersma INTRODUCTION Over the past decade, the process of European integration has been accompanied by the emergence of what is now referred to as the European Social Model (ESM). This concept is used to refer to a number of social policy arrangements, including social security and social dialogue institutions, which are believed to be characteristics that distinguish the European from the American business model (Adnett and Hardy 2005; Vaughan-Whitehead 2003). This is not to deny that there are other interpretations of the integration process which see it as ‘negative integration’ (Scharpf 1999), meaning that the thrust of legislation has been to weaken those national forms of regulation which are regarded as obstacles to economic integration and the free market. Although no empirical support exists for the anticipated ‘race to the bottom’, the diversity among Member States and the constraints originating from EU rules on economic integration and competition laws are major reasons to doubt the viability of common European social policies (Scharpf 2002). Fears have been voiced, for instance by Vaughan-Whitehead (2003), that the social model will not be sustainable, one reason being that enlargement has increased the diversity among the EU Member States significantly, another that many of the new Member States have enacted neo-liberal policies in a radical way – under the often unrecognized influence of international financial institutions (Dimitrova and Petkov 2005) – and these add to the neo-liberal orientation which some of the EU-15 Member States are also pursuing to varying...
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