New Risks at the EU Level; A Spillover from Open Market Policies?

Trine P. Larsen and Peter Taylor-Gooby

in New Risks, New Welfare

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780199267262
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602023 | DOI:
New Risks at the EU Level; A Spillover from Open Market Policies?

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New social risks are at the forefront of the EU's social policy agenda. In part, this is because a new social risk approach fits with open market policies, which stress constraints on state interventions and the importance of adapting social provision to meet economic goals; in part because old social risk areas are so heavily occupied by existing national government policies that it is difficult to find support for innovations. During the 1980s and 1990s, a number of attempts to develop international policy harmonization were pursued. These failed due to the difficulty of achieving cross‐national consensus. There are a number of relevant directives, chiefly in the areas of equality of opportunity for men and women and other labour market issues. The most important current developments, however, are in the area of ‘soft law’ through the Open Method of Co‐ordination and the National Action Plans in relation to employment, social exclusion, pensions, health and social care. The European Employment Strategy, with its stress on ‘flexicurity’, is the most advanced of these. It is at present unclear to what extent this process will achieve substantial changes in comparison with the importance of the economic pressures from the Single European Market.

Keywords: EU; European Central Bank; European Employment Strategy; European Union; flexicurity; harmonization; health; National Action Plan; open market; open method of co‐ordination; pensions; single European market; single market; social care; social exclusions; Treaty of Maastricht

Chapter.  11156 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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