Solidarity and the Commission's ‘Renewed Social Agenda’

Catherine Barnard

in Promoting Solidarity in the European Union

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583188
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594502 | DOI:
Solidarity and the Commission's ‘Renewed Social Agenda’

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The European Commission has seized upon the concept of solidarity to give weight to two major policy documents examining the future of social policy in the EU, ‘Opportunities, Access and Solidarity: towards a new social vision for 21st Century Europe’ of 2007 and ‘The Renewed Social Agenda: Opportunities, Access and Solidarity’ of 2008. This chapter examines the concept of solidarity as used in these two documents and how it relates to ‘opportunities’ and ‘access’. It argues that solidarity in these documents is employed to serve a variety of functions ranging from, at a meta-level, an objective of EU social policy to, at a more micro-level, an instrument to help foster cohesion and community, particularly through the use of structural funds. The chapter considers this variety of uses and concludes with a discussion of whether solidarity is a sufficiently sturdy vehicle to steer Union social policy through the challenges of the next decade, especially at a time when a severe recession has hit most of the member states.

Keywords: solidarity; EU; social agenda; opportunities; cohesion; access; recession; social policy

Chapter.  16885 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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