Handbook of European Social Policy
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Handbook of European Social Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett and Noemi Lendvai-Bainton

This Handbook will comprise of 29 original pieces from key contributors to the field of European social policy. It is intended to capture the ‘state of the art’ in European social policy and to generate and contribute to debates on the the future of European social policy in the 21st Century. It will be a comprehensive and authoritative resource for research and teaching covering themes and policy areas including social exclusion, pensions, education, children and family, as well as mobility and migration, multiculturalism, and climate change.
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Chapter 6: The dynamics of European Union social policy

Mary Daly


This chapter presents an overview of some of the key obstacles to the realization of a ‘Social Europe’ policy agenda that has long been the declared goal of European social democrats within the institutions of the European Union. It argues that there are a number of institutional, political and social obstacles which impede the ‘Social Europe’ agenda and which have been identified, but that only a critical realist approach has thus far been able to adequately integrate these obstacles into a convincing explanation for the absence of substantive ‘Social Europe’ policy output. The chapter highlights the impact of these obstacles through a discussion of the development of EU social policy during the course of the post-2008 global and European economic crises.

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