«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
3 65 Jacques Santer, Speech at the Opening of the European Social Forum, SPEECH/96/75, 28.03.1996, p. 2 193 firstly talk about the differences but finish with what is shared, thus contributing to the undermining of the borders implied by the existing diversity. 66 There are two main ways in which the Commission discourse makes the case in favour of the underlying commonality, which leads to undermining the existing borders in the EU. The first one is the reference to shared values, which are the basis on which the Union is founded. It is through these common values, which all member states cherish67 that unity in diversity is achieved.
European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, p.33, where it is stated:
“… expressed in the notion of a „European model of society‟, were governments, organized employers and trade unions acting in concert … This is an achievement of great importance for the future … The political construction of Europe will have to be unique because it must build on the diversity of European cultures …” 67 See for example the speech by Lönnroth and the values he refers to, as referenced in footnote 55 above in this chapter.
68 Romano Prodi, Europe in the 21st Century, SPEECH99/218, 18.12.1999, p. 2 (emphasis in the original) 69 Leon Brittan, Europe: the Next Steps, SPEECH/93/61, 27.05.1993, pp. 3-4 70 European Commission, Green Paper – European Social Policy – Options for the Union, COM (93) 551 final, 17.11.1993, p. 33 194 common interests and strengthening the social dimension of the Union.” 71 Therefore, the Commission discourse continuously points that: “… we need to concentrate on what unites us rather than on what divides us.” 72 These two kinds of ways in which the underlying commonalty in the EU is argued are contributing to the decreased importance of borders in the EU because they supply both rational and ideational reasons for supporting the efforts for the undermining of borders.
The argument that there are common challenges that require common actions provide the logical, reasonable line of the Commission justification, while the references towards the existence of common values work on the ideational front by promoting the emergence of a European mentality in the population of the EU. Furthermore, these two lines are in interrelation with each other, where one of them is reinforcing the other and vice versa. As post-structuralist scholars have argued, the existence of a common threat promotes the establishment of a common identity73 while the stronger the identification with the EU, the more various facts will be looked at from the perspective of the Union, thus requiring responses at the EU-level. In general, the end result of this de-bordering trend is the establishment of a feeling of “we” on the territory in question. Such references will clearly signal a move towards inclusion and therefore, diminishing the visibility of borders. The discourse of the European Commission on the social dimension through its choice of wording obviously contributes to achieving exactly this result.
5.3.3. Usage of inclusive words This de-bordering trend is further reinforced by the usage of words, which imply inclusion and belonging to the EU and promote identification with it. These are best exemplified by pronouns like “us”, “we”, or “our” and the labeling of some of the envisaged measures, which I present below.
71 Padraig Flynn, Social Policy and Employment, Friends or Foes?, SPEECH/95/278, 11.12.1995, p. 2 (emphasis added) 72 Padraig Flynn, The Issues as the Amsterdam Summit Approaches, SPEECH/97/88, 18.04.1997, p. 6 73 See for example William E. Connolly, Identity/ Difference – Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox (London: Cornell University Press, 1994) 195 The Preamble of the White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment reads: “This major challenge confronts us all. That is why we are arguing, first and foremost, the need to press on with building a unified Europe which will increase our strength through cooperation and through the benefits of a large area without frontiers of any kind”. 74 Various Commission officials in their speeches also use these inclusive
pronouns. For example, the Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs maintains:
“The issue at stake is not which model we prefer, but rather how efficient that model might be for delivering growth, jobs and equality of opportunity to citizens, taking into account the new challenges and the rapid changes that we are facing”75; and a speech by the former Commissioner responsible for Employment and Social Affairs Diamantopoulou on the ESM is full of such references: “Our social models have been centre stage in Europe‟s continued economic and social progress.”; “… the major contrast remains between Europe and the US … Which serves to distinguish us as societies. But which hardly puts us at an economic disadvantage”; “Our first European breakthrough on these issues came back in 1997”.76 Although much more rare, this trend was present even at the time of the adoption of the SEA. For example, Delors argued: “… we should not let deregulation form a barrier to the necessary dialogue between unions and employers. “We must not abandon the European model, which has deep roots. …””77 Besides these most commonly used pronouns that denote the sameness of the EU‟s member states, sometimes other pronouns are also used to show the belonging of the population of the Union to its unique way of social organisation. Nevertheless, the meaning constructed by such pronouns is still the same. The suggestion is that there exists a common social space in the EU, which in turn presupposes the decreased salience of internal borders. For example, the Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social 74 European Commission, Growth, Competitiveness, Employment – the Challenges and Ways Forward into the 21st Century – White Paper, COM (93) 700 final, 5.12.1993, Preamble (emphasis added) 75 Joaquin Almunia, A European Economic and Social Model for the 21st Century, SPEECH/07/253, 25.04.2007, p. 6 (emphasis added) 76 Anna Diamantopoulou, Europe‟s Social Model – Building for the Future, SPEECH/02/360, 29.08.2002, respectively p. 4; p. 2; p. 3 (emphases added) 77 European Commission, Commission President Calls for Continued Effort to Adjust European Economic Structures without Abandoning the „European Model‟, IP/86/281, 05.06.1986, p. 2 (emphasis added) 196 Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimir Špidla declares that: “European citizens remain attached to their social model, which is based on inclusion …” 78 This emergence of a “we-feeling” is further promoted in the social policy discourse of the European Commission through the way undertakings are called. Although Commission documents usually acknowledge that action at Union level is not always the best way forward, the case is nevertheless made that there are occasions when the current institutional provisions are unsatisfactory79 or when measures at the supranational level have added value and thus have to be pursued.80 Thus, arguably, in concurrence with the trend uncovered in Chapter Three the Commission still uses any chances it sees feasible to promote further integration at EU level. Many of the names given to the major instruments used in achieving the objectives of the EU social policy imply inclusion. This is done through coordination of undertakings at different cross-border levels; through the development of common strategies, common priorities, and common programmes; through adoption of legislation at the supranational level; through consultation, exchange of information and dialogue between the actors involved. 81 This inclusiveness is further reinforced by the nature of the integration process itself. In distinction to other unification policies in different geographical locations and during different historical periods, the process of European integration is presented as one, in which decisions are negotiated between free and equal partners. The following statement of Commissioner Diamantopoulou exemplifies this: “These common policies, again, are not a matter of one or more countries dictating to others. They are a matter of sovereign states deciding to pursue common objectives for common benefit.”82 78 Vladimir Špidla, Closing Speech on Poverty and Social Exclusion, SPEECH/06/609, 17.10.2006, p. 3 (emphasis added) 79 Jacques Delors, Address by President Delors Presenting the Commission‟s Programme for 1991 to the European Parliament, SPEECH/91/8, 23.01.1991, p. 2; Padraig Flynn, The Issues as the Amsterdam Summit Approaches, SPEECH/97/88, 18.04.1997, p. 2 80 See for example Padraig Flynn, The Development of European Level Social Dialogue, SPEECH/96/200, 23.07.1996, p.3; Jacques Santer, Speech to the European Parliament, SPEECH/96/260, 22.10.1996, p. 1;
Padraig Flynn, The Social Chapter – Cost or Benefit?, SPEECH/96/223, 26.09.1996, p. 5; European Commission, Facts about the „Social Chapter‟, MEMO/97/13, 05.02.1997, p. 2 81 This is based on Anna Diamontopoulou, European Social Policy: Rising to the Challenge of Modernisation, SPEECH/01/170, 10.04.2001, pp. 4-5 82 Anna Diamantopoulou, The European Social Model and Enlargement, SPEECH/00/235, 23.06.2000, p. 3 197 All in all, these articulations reveal another important way in which through its discourse the Commission undermines the borders between the member states in the social field. The implication of using inclusive words, such as the pronouns “we”, “our”, “us” and the labeling of EU-level actions as “joint” or “common”, is that a feeling of belonging and identification with the Union is promoted. Furthermore, as the last citation shows, this is further reinforced by the argument that the process of European integration is one based on voluntary association. Under it each member state can still exercise free will, and decisions are not based on force, where one, a group of states or the supranational institutions make decisions on behalf of the rest of the members. This is very important because it indicates firstly that whatever decision is taken it is for the good of everyone, and secondly, that in principle the option of not participating is still viable. Therefore, the participation in the policies on the social field signifies a conscious, rational decision that this is the best course of action and identification with all the other participants. As I explained in the previous section, this is what provides the ground on which the claims for the existence of an EMoS and ESM are made. Once their existence is asserted, it becomes possible for participants in the integration process (such as the Commission) to use different types of inclusive words in its discourse, which closes the circle. Therefore, these two main techniques used in the Commission discourse on the social dimension mutually reinforce each other and together lead to constructing a common social space in the EU, which is a border-free area. This is how the Commission social policy discourse undermines internal EU borders. Another field that in its rhetoric displays the same tendencies is the discourse of the Commission on the ESM in relation to Enlargement.
5.3.4. The Commission European Social Model discourse in relation to Enlargement Before the end of the Cold War, the countries of the Communist block had a distinctive social model, which underwent a thorough change in the 1990s. Given that this was during the same period when the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) were preparing for a full EU membership, it could be expected that they would move 198 towards greater convergence of their social policies with those of the EU.83 Furthermore, it could be expected that such a development will be strongly supported and promoted by the EU and indeed the rhetoric of the European Commission shows such tendencies.