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The Wage under Attack

Employment Policies in Europe


Edited By Bernadette Clasquin and Bernard Friot

Challenging the widespread view of the continental model of social protection as a «corporatist-conservative» system, this book stresses the creative thrust of the two major institutions of the Bismarckian tradition: the social contribution that finances the socialised wage, and the qualification system that liberates workers from the labour market. These institutions have come under attack over the past two decades via European Employment Strategy policies aimed at imposing the Beveridgean model. And the European Union is using the current economic crisis to justify stepping up this reform process.
The conceptual framework proposed in this volume provides the basis for a critical examination of the interrelated developments in European integration and national policies on employment and social protection. As well as contributing to a sociology of monetary resources, it highlights the emancipatory potential of the continental tradition of the socialised wage, and demonstrates the negative implications of the European Union-led reforms.


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PART II THE EUROPEANISATION OF EMPLOYMENT AND WAGE POLICIES 71 European Pension Reforms The Development of a Reform Rhetoric: 1993-2003 Corinne GOBIN Senior Research Associate, Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium The European Community has been empowered to intervene in the field of retirement pensions since its very beginnings. Its initial role, in compliance with Article 15 of the Treaty of Rome, was to coordinate the social security regimes of the Member States and to organise the “porta- bility” of social security entitlements in order to facilitate the free movement of workers within the Common Market. But the implementa- tion of the Internal Market (White Paper “Completing the Internal Market”, June 1985) opened the way for the European Commission to progressively develop a specific policy on pensions in keeping with the overall aim to liberalise the Member States’ economies. The policy on the free movement of capital, enforced by Directive 88/361/EEC adopt- ed by the Council on 24 June 1988, provided an avenue for the Com- mission to attempt to develop a capital market in the field of supplemen- tary pensions; it drafted several directive proposals to this end in the 1990s, but came up against stiff opposition from France and Spain (Coron, 2003). It was not until June 2003 that it finally succeeded in getting a directive adopted to promote the development of funded occupational pension institutions (Directive 2003/41/EC). And, despite the financial crisis that hit Europe in October 2008, the promotion of private...

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