The European Employment and Social Inclusion Strategies – Second Printing
Edited By Jonathan Zeitlin and Philippe Pochet
PART I: THEORETICAL AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEWS
PART I THEORETICAL AND HISTORICAL OVERVIEWS This page intentionally left blank CHAPTER 1 The Open Method of Co-ordination and the Construction of Social Europe A Historical Perspective Philippe POCHET Introduction 1 The number of papers, articles and books on the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) and on new form(s) of governance in the EU is growing each day. If the OMC covers different fields (economic policy, research, education, migration, for a review see Rodrigues, 2004), it is its application to social policies (employment, pensions, exclusion, health care) that has attracted most interest. These developments were not expected. Until very recently, achievements in European social policy were generally considered as - at best - weak. Most commen- tators underlined the imbalance between economic and monetary integ- ration on the one hand and the social integration on the other. The diffi- culties of adopting a positive integration agenda (common regulation) were underlined in a context of increasing diversity in terms of welfare state arrangements and developments. The internal market had led to an "embedded liberalism". Many predicted that fiscal competition, "social dumping" and "social tourism" created by European economic integra- tion (the single market and the single currency) would imply a race to the bottom in social policy, social protection systems being obliged to adapt through retrenchment and structural adjustment policies. It was also argued that this detrimental impact could be reinforced by the European Court of Justice. Some of its decisions have removed obsta- cles to a free market. In...
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