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«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»

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European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, p. 6; Padraig Flynn, Speech at the Plenary Session of the European Parliament, SPEECH/95/2, 18.01.1995, p. 1 27 Summarised on the basis of European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, p. 32. For other summaries of the challenges see for example Pagraig Flynn, The Next Phase of European Social Policy – the Implications for Business, SPEECH/94/101, 20.09.1994, p. 1; Padraig Flynn, Green Paper Seminar, SPEECH/94/59, 28.05.1994, p. 2 28 Padraig Flynn, Green Paper Seminar, SPEECH/94/59, 28.05.1994, p. 2 29 European Commission, Growth, Competitiveness, Employment – the Challenges and Ways Forward into the 21st Century – White Paper, COM (93) 700 final, 5.12.1993 30 European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993 31 European Commission, European Social Policy – a Way Forward for the Union. A White Paper, COM (94) 333 final, 27.07.1994 184 and as a result, they triggered a move towards looking at the two policy areas as two parts of a whole. A good illustration of the way in which this is done is the definition of the term “social policy” in the Green Paper on Social Policy, where: “… it is taken to mean the full range of policies in the social sphere including labour market policies.” 32 Such a perception, especially after the successful adoption of these Papers by the other EU decision-making institutions, 33 provided a link between the three Papers. It also led to the consistent reference to the social and economic policies not as competing with each other but as complementary, as “two sides of the same coin”. 34 At the same time another important shift in the Commission social policy discourse occurred – gradually, the references to EMoS are replaced by references to ESM. For example, in his speech to the United Nations (UN) Summit in Copenhagen in March 1995, Commission President Jacques Santer talked about „”the European Model of Society” 35, while although in a speech a year later he used again the “European Model of Society”, he also referred to the “European Social Model”. 36 In a similar vein, the White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment talks about a “Model of European Society”37, while the Green and White Papers on Social Policy use the term ESM. 38 From the late 1990s, the term ESM becomes the one employed overwhelmingly in the Commission discourse. Nevertheless, since the late 1990s in some specific policy areas, such as services 32 European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, p. 6, in footnote 1. For other statements linking these policies see for example Padraig Flynn, White Paper on Social Policy, SPEECH/94/118, 26.10.1994, p. 2 33 The White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment was passed with Resolutions of the European Parliament and the Council in 1997-1998, see http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=102660, accessed on 07.05.2009; and the White Paper on European Social Policy was passed by a Resolution of the European Parliament in the first half of 1995, see http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=101312, accessed on 07.05.2009 34 See for example Padraig Flynn, Speech at the Irish Institute of European Affairs, SPEECH/96/17, 19.01.1996, p. 1; Peter Balazs, Cohesion Policy: European Solidarity in Practice, SPEECH/04/290, 08.06.2004, p. 4 35 Jacques Santer, United Nations Summit for Social Development, SPEECH/95/30, 12.03.1995, p. 1 36 Jacques Santer, Speech at the Opening of the European Social Forum, SPEECH/96/75, 28.03.1996, p. 2 37 European Commission, Growth, Competitiveness, Employment – the Challenges and Ways Forward into the 21st Century – White Paper, COM (93) 700 final, 5.12.1993, p. 15 38 See for example European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, p. 33 and p. 70; European Commission, European Social Policy – a Way Forward for the Union. A White Paper, COM (94) 333 final, 27.07.1994, p. 2 185 of general and general economic interest EMoS comes back. 39 There it denotes the provision of public services on economic basis. In a way, the different terms encapsulate the shift that occurred during this time in the accents in the social policy discourse – from work and solidarity, which used to be central concepts, to modern views that have to go beyond these issues.40 This transformation also signals a change from a more social protectionist approach in the EC‟s social policy to a more decentralised one. In the next section I present how the Commission discourse articulated these shifts.

5.2.2. European Social Model The trend that started in the early 1990s with the White and Green Papers was confirmed in the following years with the adoption of the Medium Term Social Action Programme for the period 1995-1997;41 the Title on Employment in the Treaty of Amsterdam; the European Employment Strategy; the Lisbon Council Conclusions on Employment and Social Policy42 and the subsequent Social Policy Agenda. 43 The line of thinking promoted by these documents is that social policy should be conceived in a broader sense and “not limited only to labour market issues or the defense of the rights of those in employment” (as was the case prior to the early 1990s). Instead: “A real European Social Policy must also look to the problems of the unemployed, the socially excluded, the disabled and other disadvantaged groups in society, and the growing problems faced by our welfare states.”44 Thus, the most important shift and difference in the Commission discourse is that although the issues included in the EMoS are still dealt with, new problems and accents are emerging in the ESM. Therefore, it can be concluded that over time, the shifts in the Commission social policy discourse have led to widening the scope of 39 See for example European Commission, Green Paper on Services of General Interest, COM (2003) 270 final, 21.05.2003, esp. p. 3.





40 Jacques Santer, Speech at the Opening of the European Social Forum, SPEECH/96/75, 28.03.1996, p. 2 41 European Commission, Medium Term Social Action Programme 1995-1997, COM (95) 134 final, 12.04.1995. It was passed with a Resolution of the European Parliament in January 1996, see http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=100166, accessed on 07.05.2009 42 Available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/lis1_en.htm, accessed on 22.04.2008 43 European Commission, Social Policy Agenda, COM (2000) 379 final, 28.06.2000. It was approved by the Nice European Council Meeting, see for example http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=157362, accessed on 07.05.2009 44 Both quotations are from Padraig Flynn, Speech at the Plenary Session of the European Parliament, SPEECH/95/2, 18.01.1995, p. 2 186 issues dealt with under the social dimension, thus modifying the meaning of the EU social policy.

In the ESM the main approach for addressing the challenges identified is the adoption and promotion of “active labour market and social policies”. 45 These policies require restructuring of the public spending, so that there are funds available for financing not only the social safety-net (for supporting the unemployed, disabled or elderly) but also a sufficient amount of money for the running of various kinds of programmes (educational, vocational, or re-training). The aim is to enable people out of work to develop their skills and improve their productivity, thus enhancing their competitiveness on the labour market and bettering their chances of finding work. This approach is further reinforced by efforts to restructure the tax systems in the EU, so that it provides increased incentives for various types of people, such as women and the elderly to stay, return or become employed, rather than rely on the social benefits provided. These efforts are complemented by measures aimed at providing good macroeconomic, legal or infrastructural conditions for business.

The overarching idea is that a combination of these courses of action will lead to economic growth, which will be translated into higher levels of employment and increased overall standards of living, thus achieving the strategic goal of the EU becoming: “… the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.” 46 Thus, one of the leading themes of the social policy discourse is that it is a productive factor. 47 In comparison to the ways envisaged for achieving the EC/EU social policy aims there are some important changes evident in the Commission discourse. Although the main ways for fulfilling them in the period until the early 1990s, such as a legislative approach, financial support through the structural funds and negotiations between employers and unions are still promoted, new instruments are emerging as well. These include the adoption of new programmes, mainstreaming and the so-called Open Method of 45 One of the earliest usages of this idea is in the European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, see for example p. 18 46 The Lisbon European Council (23 and 24 March 2000) Presidency Conclusions, available at http://www.ena.lu/, accessed on 09.05.2009 47 European Commission, Social Policy Agenda, COM (2000) 379, 28.06.2000, p. 5 187 Coordination (OMC).48 The OMC was first applied under the European Employment Strategy and was later used in the Social Policy Agenda in the area of social inclusion. It involves fixing guidelines on Union level and agreeing upon timetables for achieving short, medium, and long-term goals; establishing qualitative and quantitative indicators and benchmarks; translating the European guidelines into national and regional policies;

periodic monitoring, evaluation and peer review organised as a mutual learning process. 49 Commissioner Diamantopoulou characterises the OMC as: “A clear example of subsidiarity in action.”50 However, arguably, it is evidence for the prevailing of intergovernmentalist thinking in the fields of employment and social policies because it does not have any legally binding provisions, and therefore, it does not contribute towards social policy integration in the EU through harmonisation, which would be the aim of the supporters of supranationalism. 51 Therefore, developments in the social field in the period after the earlyto-mid 1990s are better characterised as negative integration, closer to the lowest common denominator, which is promoting a more decentralised and hands-off approach.

However, despite these differences in the Commission social policy discourse, there are also continuations in the Commission articulations, which contain very important bordering configurations, such as the articulation of very similar “Others” or the construction of the social space in the EC/EU as a unified one. In that respect, one of the most striking continuities between the articulations of the EMoS and the ESM is their 48 Enlisted in Anna Diamantopoulou, Presentation of the Social Policy Agenda to the European Parliament, SPEECH/00/324, 21.09.2000, p. 2 and Anna Diamantopoulou, The Social Policy Agenda: Europe at Work for Trade Unions, SPEECH/01/114, 09.03.2001, p. 4.



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