1st Edition

Social Policy and EU Polity-building Through Crises and Beyond

    200 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume sets out to explain the conditions that have favoured the expansion of the European social dimension during the turbulent decade of 2010–20, when Europe was confronting strong countervailing pressures, including the euro crisis, the refugee crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The study begins by diagnosing a widespread, although slow-burning, crisis across the European Union (EU) resulting from the cumulation of social problems and the systemic tension between EU market integration on the one hand and nationally bounded welfare states and the other. Eight in-depth case studies analyse the political dynamics behind a variety of EU social initiatives aimed at addressing the consequences of free movement of workers, youth unemployment, poverty, eroding wages, environment and climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. To identify the specific drivers of EU social policymaking empirically, the authors have reconstructed the struggles over concrete policy proposals as they unfolded in the European multilevel setting.

    The volume introduces a novel analytical framework for interpreting the transformation of the EU social dimension in times of crisis, when some degree of social co-ordination becomes crucial to bond deeply different (welfare) states together. This in-depth study offers an invaluable analysis for researchers, academics and professionals interested in the functioning of the European polity.

    a. List of Figures b. List of Tables c. List of Interviews 

    1.     Introduction: beyond the social crisis of Europe?

    2.     Understanding crisis social politics and policymaking in the EU

    3.     Between social protection and polity maintenance: a political history of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

    4.     The Youth Guarantee: the gradual institutionalisation of a residual EU social policy 

    5.     A case of EU social policy failure: the European Framework Directive on Minimum Income

    6.     Social policy expansion in the field of intra-EU labour mobility: the revision of the Directive on the Posting of Workers

    7.     The European minimum wage directive: territorial dynamics and the gradual structuring of partisan conflicts in the EU polity

    8.     Compensating for the net-zero transition: the politics of establishing the Just Transition Fund and Social Climate Fund   

    9.     EU employment policy detour to job protection: explaining the swift adoption of SURE during the COVID-19 crisis

    10.  Eroding or supporting national welfare states? European social governance after the introduction of the Recovery and Resilience Facility

    11.  Conclusions: comparative insights into the politics of the social crisis of Europe


    Anna Kyriazi is Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Milan in the context of the SOLID project. She holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute. Her research interests include comparative ethnicity and nationalism, migration, and political communication, with a particular emphasis on Eastern and Southern Europe.

    Joan Miró is Assistant Professor in EU Politics and Policy at Pompeu Fabra University. His research interests lie in European integration, particularly the socioeconomic governance of the EMU, social policy, and international political economy.

    Marcello Natili is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Milan and a member of the ESPAN - Expert Network for Analytical Support in Social Policies. His research interests are in the field of comparative welfare states analysis, and include labour market and social inclusion policies, European social governance, eco-social policy and politics, and the Southern European model of welfare capitalism.

    Stefano Ronchi is Assistant Professor at the Department of Social and Political Science of the University of Milan. His research interests include comparative welfare state analysis, labour market policies and the politics of EU social policy.