France: defending our model

Bruno Palier and Luana Petrescu

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:
France: defending our model

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On May 29, 2005, more than fifty per cent of French voters voted against the European Constitution. However, this French move against the EU Constitution appears to have been less against Europe in general and more against the perceived threat of an ‘ultra-liberal’ Europe, which would lead to the loss of jobs to foreign workers from outsourcing, thereby creating a social dumping that would put the French social model at risk. Since France views itself as having a strong commitment to solidarity, it continually believes that it has a French social model to defend. Hence, it frames its position towards European social initiatives with this idea in mind. This chapter discusses the fierce stance of France and its social model against the EU-related initiatives. It is believed that France will always defend the status quo, contesting reforms which it views as threatening to its social model, as reinforcing the EU bureaucracy, and/or favouring a neoliberal Europe. Unless the EU proposes alternative solutions to ultra-liberal ones, any progress on EU institutional involvement in social policies and reform may be extremely debated in France. The only hope for change is if developments at the European level could be presented in France as having been initiated by French officials.

Keywords: European Constitution; ultra-liberal Europe; French social model; France; EU bureaucracy; social policies

Chapter.  6180 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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