Chapter

European Union developments and national social protection

Juho Saari and Jon Kvist

in The Europeanisation of social protection

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9781847420206
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303794 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420206.003.0001
European Union developments and national social protection

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Social protection in the EU is primarily a national preserve. The EU has little competence in social protection; regulative powers are limited and resources are few. The EU cannot specify particular social protection policies. Member States are left to decide what type and level of social protection they want and are able to afford. Ten years ago, this was a fairly accurate picture of social protection in the EU, but since then developments at both the national and EU levels have had direct and indirect effects on social protection in Europe. In particular, these developments have led to the complex interweaving of the national and EU levels, a process described as the Europeanisation of social protection. To understand the ongoing Europeanisation of social protection, four sets of developments at the EU level are of particular importance. These developments are: new policy processes and areas taken up at the EU level; the increased application of internal market rules to the area of social protection; the European economic and Monetary Union; and the recent enlargement of the EU. This book aims to analyse how Member States react to these four sets of developments. It attempts to determine the impact of recent EU developments on national social protection systems and the responses of the Member States to them. The book first discusses how Member States react to these developments by investigating whether recent national reform in Member States has been informed by EU-level developments and has led to towards a European social model. It then discusses the responses of the Member States' governments to the EU initiatives under the four sets of developments. Finally, the book discusses EU developments among several Member States, such as Greece, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Keywords: social protection; EU; Member States; Europe; EU developments; European social model

Chapter.  7362 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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