The Europeanisation of social protection: domestic impacts and national responses

Jon Kvist and Juho Saari

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:
The Europeanisation of social protection: domestic impacts and national responses

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During the past ten years, the Europeanisation of social protection has undergone transformation and change. Europeanisation of social protection concerns the relationship between the national and EU levels in social protection. Originally, Jean Monnet and other architects of the EU bought into neofunctionalist theories of European integration. Neofunctionalism suggests that cooperation among European countries in economic areas and technical matters would initiate positive integration where countries would agree on the formulation of common policies at the EU level. Thus defined, positive integration requires a transfer of sovereignty from the national to the supranational level, such as that of the EU level. This chapter focuses on the Europeanisation of social protection. While social protection before was geared towards the transfer of sovereignty from the national level to the EU level, today, it aims to facilitate collaboration among sovereign Member States. The chapter begins with a discussion on the series of adaptational pressures and mediating aspects that are significant for understanding the different impacts which are expected across countries. It then describes how these country-specific pressures have been used as criteria in selecting eleven countries for case studies, so that they mirror the existing diversity between Member States and allow the testing of the different hypotheses on why the European impact differs across countries. The chapter also provides a simple model that depicts Europeanisation of social protection as a downloading process, and examines whether the model aids in understanding the recent welfare reforms and government responses. In addition to the simple model, it presents a complex model of Europeanisation, one that better explains the increasingly interweaving of the national and EU levels. The chapter ends with a discussion on some of the perspectives for the evolving relationship between the EU and the national level in social protection.

Keywords: Europeanisation; social protection; European integration; positive integration; collaboration; country-specific pressures; model of Europeanisation

Chapter.  7910 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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