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The Politicisation of Social Europe

Hardback

The Politicisation of Social Europe

Conflict Dynamics and Welfare Integration

9781800885257 Edward Elgar Publishing
Francesco Corti, PhD, Adjunct Professor of European Socio-economic Governance, Department of Political and Social Science, University of Milan, Italy and Associate Researcher, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Belgium
Publication Date: January 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80088 525 7 Extent: c 272 pp
While for some scholars the Euro crisis dashed the dream of Social Europe, this thought-provoking book proposes a more nuanced assessment, challenging the notion of austerity as the only way forward. Tracing the evolution of the political debate on European social integration and its interplay with the European economic governance after the Euro crisis, it sheds light on the conflict dynamics and political conditions that enabled the progressive shift away from the initial post-crisis EU ‘conservative reflex’, towards a new European holding environment for flourishing welfare states.

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While for some scholars the Euro crisis dashed the dream of Social Europe, this thought-provoking book proposes a more nuanced assessment, challenging the notion of austerity as the only way forward. Tracing the evolution of the political debate on European social integration and its interplay with the European economic governance after the Euro crisis, it sheds light on the conflict dynamics and political conditions that enabled the progressive shift away from the initial post-crisis EU ‘conservative reflex’, towards a new European holding environment for flourishing welfare states.

This timely book provides a detailed reconstruction of the European social agenda after the Great Recession, touching upon budgetary, legislative and coordinative policies and including an in-depth analysis of the EU response to the Covid-19 crisis. Utilising innovative approaches and methodology, Francesco Corti identifies four lines of functional and territorial conflict which characterise the debate on EU social integration. An original focus on the role of the European Parliament in fostering further social integration gives the book an original and insightful perspective.

The Politicisation of Social Europe will be a key resource for students and scholars of European politics, political sociology and welfare states, as well as EU officials and policy makers seeking to identify strategies that can facilitate them in pursuing a successful social agenda.
Critical Acclaim
‘Lots of people have opinions or expectations about Social Europe – very few have wide-ranging factual knowledge about how EU policies are made. Francesco Corti’s book covers some of the key chapters of EU social policy in the past decade from posted workers to unemployment benefits, based on years of thorough analysis and extensive field work. What is even more impressive than Corti’s clarity about strategic concepts and attention to detail is his reasoned optimism about the possibility of progressive reform.’
– László Andor, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Belgium

‘The book provides an up-to-date assessment of Social Europe and its politics since the Great Recession. It outlines the main conflict lines (ideological, functional, territorial) which have shaped policy development at the EU level and gauges their relative significance in different arenas and issue areas in relation to the actors involved and decision making rules. One of the most original findings is the increasing relevance of partisan affiliation along the left right dimension within the European Parliament: a novel development, which marks an advancement in the political structuring of the EU. With its optimistic evaluation of the ongoing “social momentum” of EU policy making, the book brings a fresh and stimulating perspective to the debate on the European Social Model, still predominantly characterised by disillusionment and low spirits.’
– Maurizio Ferrera, University of Milan, Italy
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