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The End of Social Europe? Understanding EU Social Policy Change - CES

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Center for European Studies


Paolo R. Graziano

Professor of Political Science, University of Padova, Italy

Research Associate, European Social Observatory, Brussels, Belgium

The End of Social Europe? Understanding EU Social Policy Change
(Co-authors: Paolo R. Graziano and Miriam Hartlapp)

The financial and economic crisis has increased attention on EU social policy, yet little policy change has been realized. Drawing on Easton’s political system approach, Graziano and Hartlapp identify the 2004, 2009 and 2014 European elections and the financial and economic crisis as inputs to the EU political system. On the output side, this talk shows how social policy has been substantially removed from the priorities of the EU political agenda already prior to the crisis. Graziano and Hartlapp argue that although crisis-generated demand could have predicted European social policies becoming more relevant in order to cope with the crisis, support in the form of election results empowered actors interested in deepening economic integration and austerity policies. Graziano and Hartlapp present new empirical data contributing to this argument by analyzing how, inside the “black box” of the EU political system, the changing ideological composition of the Commission and an asymmetrical intergovernmentalist turn have been key driver for the substantial decline of EU social policy provision.

For more information, contact Havva Karakas-Keles, 

Sponsoring Department: Center for European Studies, Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

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