Since the ratification of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the European integration project has been committed to reducing inequalities between member states. However, social inequalities remain high, and public support for the welfare state varies between countries. Some experts have suggested a common European social policy. This chapter analyses recent developments and future prospects at the European Union level. After discussing the initial ambitions of social policy harmonization, it focuses on the role of the EU during the Great Recession by examining the range of policy responses advocated by Brussels in order to fight against a multi-faceted crisis. These are dominated by the tightening of austerity, but include social investment and greater labour market flexibility. The final section reflects on the future of European integration after Brexit. It argues that further common policy development is only likely through agreements restricted to a particular a number of member states in an ‘ever more differentiated Europe’.
|Title of host publication||After Austerity: Welfare State Transformation in Europe after the Great Recession|
|Editors||Peter Taylor-Gooby, Benjamin Leruth, Heejung Chung|
|Place of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|