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Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union

From the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis, the State of the Art

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Edited By Alessandra Silveira, Mariana Canotilho and Pedro Madeira Froufe

This book attempts to address an important question: where is the European project going?
As Europe struggles with the most profound economic and social crises in recent history, what happens to the promises of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person proclaimed in the Preamble of the Treaty on European Union? How does the European Union intend to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental social rights at a time of widespread deregulation and an increasingly precarious labour market? How can we further enhance the democratic and efficient functioning of European institutions when there is a growing distance between citizens and political elites?
This publication is based on papers given at the international conference «Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union – from the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis: The State of the Art», which took place in the School of Law at the University of Minho, Portugal, in May 2012. The line-up of contributors includes scholars from southern and northern Europe and Brazil, and together the papers constitute a lively and productive debate about the future of Europe.
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Prospects for Social Europe. What Social Europe Can We Get? (Katarzyna Gromek Broc)

← 178 | 179 → Prospects for Social Europe

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Katarzyna GROMEK BROC

University of York

Building “Social Europe” has always been a sensitive issue in the European debates. Not without reason, the social dimension of Europe, or lack of it, is often blamed for the failure of the Constitutional Treaty. On one hand, it could be argued that historically, the European Communities were created to achieve economic objectives that could possibly be undermined by the realisation of “Social Europe”. On the other, however, the idea of the “ever closer Union” has progressed dramatically during the last twenty years and the objectives and focus have changed from purely economic concerns to social rights and the overall well-being of Europe’s citizens. The proponents of “Social Europe” see the development in this area as a natural progression in the European integration.

This article looks at the Commission’s Strategy for the development of Social Europe by 2020 but also at the current framework provided by the Lisbon Treaty and the mechanisms on the basis of which social objectives could be achieved with reference to soft law such as OMC. The article attempts to answer the questions: How promising is the current setting? Will the new Europe 2020 strategy be more realistic? What Social Dimension can we afford?

The last decade has been marked by a lot of consideration given to the social aspects of European integration, possible EU Social Objectives and the space attributed to social values in the European architecture. The Amsterdam Treaty in...

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