Panel 15: The future of Social Europe

Chaired by: dr. Ringo Ossewaarde (UT) & Minna van Gerven (UT) &

Once hailed as the bright future of Europe, Social Europe today seems to face a struggle for existence in the context of the Eurozone crises. Social Europe is designed as a unique model of European society in the context of global capitalism, but its sustainability is at risk. Its aspiration of effectuating fundamental social rights, social protection and wealth redistribution in Europe, social dialogue and consultation with workers, social and employment regulation, and state responsibility for full employment and economic and social cohesion seems to be effected by (typically neoliberal) measures to resolve the financial crisis. In the meantime, unemployment, working conditions and poverty is spreading in Europe, especially in the Southern parts and especially among the younger generations. Flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy that are meant to effectuate Social Europe, such as youth on the move, an agenda for new skills and jobs, and a platform against poverty and social exclusion, seem to be toothless in the fact of the crisis and skyrocketing percentages of youth unemployment, particularly in countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

In this panel we would like to discuss the future of Social Europe, in particular of Europe 2020, given the current context of labour market conditions and unemployment. What is becoming of Social Europe?, this is our key question. We are particularly interested in papers that would discuss (changes in) European social policy approaches and changes in European governance, in terms of (changes in) ideology, identity, regulation, administration and organization. We invite all sorts of papers concerned with the policies and governance of Social Europe that contain a view of what is happening to Social Europe today and what will become of Social Europe in the near future.