Europe’s Social Revival: From Gothenburg to Next Generation EU

Författare: Bokhorst David, Schreurs Sven

At the Gothenburg summit in 2017, EU leaders agreed on a set of principles to strengthen citizens' social rights and reduce inequalities within the Union. In this analysis, political scientists David Bokhorst and Sven Schreurs consider EU social and economic policymaking since the summit. They find that there has been a substantive change and reflect on whether it is likely to endure. (2023:14epa)

In November 2017, EU leaders gathered in Gothenburg for a summit for fair jobs and growth. The summit resulted in an agreement on a European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), with 20 principles aimed at ‘guiding’ the EU towards the fulfilment of essential needs and the enforcement of social rights. In the six years since the summit – years of cascading crises – has the EU delivered on this ambition?

In this European Policy Analysis, David Bokhorst and Sven Schreurs (European University Institute) consider the directives, recommendations, and funding instruments that have been adopted in the wake of the EPSR. The reforms cover gender equality; ill-paid and precarious work; social inclusion; education and child-care.

The analysis also considers recent changes to the system of European socioeconomic governance and the new funds, such as NGEU with its focus on social investment, which are shaped by the crucial and active role of the state in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The authors conclude that these changes do amount to a ‘social revival’, a shift in thought and practice with substantive impacts at EU and national levels. They furthermore suggest reasons for thinking that the changes are likely to endure: for the moment, at least, social Europe is here to stay.