Social Europe

Project manager: Anna Wetter,Göran von Sydow och Monika Hjeds Löfmark

How to combine the interests of the free market with social policy interests is a complex and much debated issue. It has been approached in different ways depending on the time period and the prevailing ideological trend. The question has been raised again due to the overview of the Single Market and through the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty which defines the Single Market as a social market economy and provides the EU with a binding charter that includes social rights. What will the consequences of this be on the development of the Single Market? Does this entail a new order where economic interests are sacrificed for social rights to a greater extent than has hitherto been the case?

The question of the social development of the EU has been revisited in a partially new context due to recent economic crisis. EU cooperation is affected both by internal economic concerns as well as global developments. It is clear that the problems which have been revealed due to the financial crisis and the measures that are now being discussed may have an impact on the political foundations of European integration as a whole. It is in this light that the tension between economic and social interests will continue to be the subject of scrutiny in 2014. Three themes will be addressed in particular: the development of the social dimension in the EU and the EMU, the social investment perspective and labour market regulation.