N° 40, 2013/2 – The Effects of Europeanization in the Social Field

PE40

edited by Sophie Jacquot, 2013/2 (n°40)

 

Special Report

 

Sophie Jacquot – The Effects of Europeanization in the Social Field. Between European Influence and National Practices

 

Anil Duman, Anna Horvath – Traditional Familialism Served with EU Gravy. Reconciliation Policies in Hungary

The article examines the role of EU in shaping work-family reconciliation policies in Hungary between the 1990s and 2011. More specifically, it looks at how members of the Hungarian Parliament framed European requirements and/ or standards, and how they used references to European processes in their arguments. The article distinguishes three periods of Europeanization. In the first period, references made to the European Union were sporadic. The second period before 2004 was the period of legal harmonisation. Finally, in the third period after the 2004 accession, principles and processes of the European Union became important reference points in parliamentary debates. European jargon including the reconciliation of work and family life entered the vocabulary of members of the parliament, who have been using it as an important resource. Furthermore, the availability of European funding has been an important trigger of reforms. However, within this period, the principle of reconciliation was used very differently depending on the parties in government, drawing attention to strategic usages of European norms to serve party politics.

 

Matteo Jessoula, Paolo R. Graziano - From EU-Rescue to EU-Trap. Reforming the Italian Welfare State (1992–2012)

Due to the Bismarckian imprint and the Southern European character of the Italian welfare regime, Italian employment and social policies have traditionally shown a marked misfit with the emerging European social policy structure. In the last two decades, consequent adaptational pressures have led to the adoption of various reforms prompted by external constraints and especially European inputs. By focusing on policy development and political dynamics in the fields of pensions and employment policy, the paper identifies three phases between 1990 and 2012. The most recent phase of national emergency since 2009 has allowed Italian policy makers to adopt two major pensions and employment policy reforms. Unlike in the past, these have been pushed through by political actors despite labor union reluctance and opposition and imposed on an increasingly Euro-skeptical Italian population by making reference to Brussels. The paper argues that European constraints recently turned into sufficient conditions for social reforms in Italy while national actor’s leverage in the field significantly declined.

 

Thomas Kostera – When Actors Abstain from Making Use of Europe. The Case of a Bismarkian Healthcare System

Following a series of landmark rulings by the European Court of Justice on cross-border healthcare, Europe now offers actors various resources to pursue their interests beyond the opportunities of their national healthcare system. This paper considers whether these actors use those European resources inside of their national healthcare system. It investigates actors in the Austrian healthcare system who regulate outpatient care. These actors show little to no use of such resources. The main thesis of this paper is therefore that this limited use of European resources can be best explained by the taking nationally institutionalized practices of corporatist and consensual negotiations into account, which prevent actors from making use of these resources.

 

Paolo R. Graziano, Sophie Jacquot, Bruno Palier – Practices and Europeanization: The Multifaceted Influence of the EU on Domestic Welfare System Reforms. The Multifaceted Influence of the European Union on Reforming National Social Protection Systems

Recent literature on the transformation of national welfare systems shows that the European Union is an important variable to take into account in order to understand domestic reforms. Our aim is to analyze in detail the political mechanisms thanks to which the EU plays a part in social policy changes of its Member States. We argue that in order to understand how the EU influences social policy reforms at the domestic level, it is necessary to look at the use made of European resources and constraints by national actors and to focus on how they turn these into political opportunities. We show that Europe contributes to change in national welfare systems, making them more employment-friendly. However, this change does not result from direct pressure on national governments but rather from the availability of various resources national actors can use in order to pursue their interest and attain their aims. By using (or not using), they participate in the incorporation of ideas and norms defined at EU level in the national debate and policy process, thus contributing to the Europeanization of domestic welfare reforms.

 

Areas of Research

 

Michaël Maira – What Impact Does Case Law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) Have on Social Protection in the Member States of the European Union. The Case of Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Sweden

 

Critical Readings

 

Janie Pélabay – A Political Theory of Identity in European Integration: Memory and Policies

Virginie Van Ingelgom – Cultural Diversity, European Identity and the Legitimacy of the EU