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Europe 2020

Towards a More Social EU?

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Edited By Eric Marlier, David Natali and Rudi Van Dam

How can Europe 2020, the EU’s new Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, lead to a stronger Social EU with less poverty and greater social cohesion? This book by a number of eminent scholars and experts is the first to attempt to answer this question.
The adoption in June 2010 by EU leaders of a target to lift at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty and exclusion by 2020 is an important step forward. However, delivering on this and the Union’s four other mutually reinforcing targets, and achieving the EU’s ambitious social objectives, raises many political and technical challenges. These are examined in depth in this book.
A key objective of the book is to take a critical look at and draw lessons from the past, 2000–2010 Lisbon Strategy. Another important objective is to explore the format and role of EU coordination and cooperation in the social field in the new EU governance framework, in a context marked by slow recovery after the global economic crisis. Finally, the book also makes proposals for the further reinforcement of this coordination and cooperation and for the improvement of the different instruments available at EU, national and sub-national levels.
The analysis and concrete proposals presented in the book will be invaluable to policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders interested in contributing to building a more Social EU. They will help to encourage new ideas and innovative approaches.

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1. Europe 2020: Towards a More Social EU? (Hugh FRAZER and Eric MARLIER,with David NATALI, Rudi VAN DAM and Bart VANHERCKE) 15

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15 1. Europe 2020: Towards a More Social EU? Hugh FRAZER and Eric MARLIER, with David NATALI, Rudi VAN DAM and Bart VANHERCKE 1.1 Policy Context and Objectives of the Book 2010 was a critical juncture for the European Union (EU) in at least two major respects. First, the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force on 1 December 2009 and gives an increased status to social issues, started to be implemented. One of the Treaty’s fundamental innovations is the so- called “Horizontal Social Clause” (Article 9 of the Treaty on the Func- tioning of the European Union (TFEU)) which states that “In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of em- ployment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health” (European Union, 2009).1 Another important innova- tion in the new Treaty is that it guarantees the freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights (which the Treaty intro- duces into EU primary law) and gives its provisions a binding legal force; this concerns civil, political and economic as well as social rights. A second reason why 2010 was a turning point for the EU is that the Lisbon Strategy, launched by the European Council2 in March 2000 as a framework for EU socio-economic policy coordination, ended in June 2010 with the adoption by EU leaders of...

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