New Project: A Social Dimension For The European Union

henningThe European Union (EU) is in motion and a lot has changed in recent years. Having been in constant crisis mode since the Eurozone crisis broke out, the Union has been on the back foot for a rather long time. In the wake of this plight, it has become less and less clear what the Union actually stands for. The EU sanctioned austerity drive in particular has done significant damage. The economic and social decline induced by this policy has eroded the societal foundations of European integration and will continue to do so. For the unemployed young of today, the EU seems more like a threat rather than a promise for a better future. This has to change. And this can only change if the EU clearly demonstrates how it can be a positive force in people’s lives. In other words, it finally needs to develop a significant social dimension, a Social Europe, rather than just being a bureaucracy whose reputation is deteriorating rapidly because it is perceived to inflict undeserved harm.

The discourse about a Social Europe is of course not new. After all, this is the title of this e-journal and a topic we have been dealing with since we started publishing eight years ago. But against the backdrop of recent experiences we need to ask a fundamental question anew: what does a Social Europe actually mean today? In a Union characterised by either much faster political integration or gradual renationalisation in its Eurozone core, growing scepticism across all member states, and economic and social problems unprecedented in modern times we need a new definition of a Social Europe. This new definition needs to be conceptually strong but also practical so real political measures can flow from it. Sketching out this new Social Europe is the task of a new project we are launching today.

We are excited that the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the IG Metall, the WSI of the Hans Böckler Stiftung, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Lasaire have joined us in this project. Over the coming weeks, we will bring together leading thinkers and practitioners to examine in-depth the issues related to a modern understanding of a Social Europe. At the end of the project, we will have a much clearer view on what kind of social dimension the European Union should develop. Project contributions are run as part of the normal SEJ publication schedule but will also be published as an eBook at the end of the project. After the stunning success of our eBook on European Growth, which has been downloaded almost 8500 times, we decided to keep this format for this project.

Everybody is invited to contribute, via comments on the project articles and videos or maybe even own submissions. After all, creating a Social Europe is a collective task. We are determined to drive this endeavour forward.


  1. says

    I have read this article with great interest and enthusiasm, as I interpret it as a sign of hope for the countries affected by the EU’s coercive federalisation. My main concern, before all, is related to the lack of legitimacy of the EU, ever since the illegitimate acceptance of the Lisbon Treaty at end of 2007, and more evidently, ever since the Irish referendum in 2008 was overruled by a dictatorial decision on behalf of the UNELECTED Commission.

    To me the very fact that the Irish referendum, which de facto invalidated the Lisbon Treaty, therefore, as per international agreement, marked the end of the EU federalisation process, yet it has been explicitly declared ineffective by the unelected EU Commission, signifies a major anti-democratic meltdown in Europe (to say the least).

    Yet the majority of Europe has continued to echo a pro-Europa euphoria. This phenomenon might be due to the overall ignorance regarding the nature and motivations of the federal EU state. In the first place, only a minority of Europe is aware that the EU has been in the position of a federal state since the end of 2007, since its leaders secretly reinstated the formerly discarded EU constitution disguised as mere modification of existing treaties, under the name of “Lisbon Treaty”.

    For those who are unaware of above, I recommend article, the video and the references at the end of the post:
    “The demo version of ‘kratos’: the sad moment when the totalitarian United States of Europe (USE) was born”

    Even fewer are aware – since almost no one read the Lisbon Treaty, not even the national leaders who ratified it in December 2007 – that the Lisbon Treaty is not only the same as the EU Constitution, but it is a dictatorial constitution by its very content.

    Another essential element of the illegitimate status of the EU is its anti-democratic structure: the ultimate decision making political body on the top of the EU’s hierarchy is the UNELECTED Commission.

    Regarding the continuing complex crisis in the EU-states, under the conditions of their lost sovereignty only the EU superstate and its divide-and-rule strategy are to be blamed for the social, economical and financial downturn and for the deepening tension within the region. The victim-blaming game of the EU-leaders is especially unnerving. Those countries that are entrapped in the anti-democratic EU-federalisation are obviously unable to effectively undo the effects of the central mismanagement, yet under the ongoing deception by the EU the member states are being held responsible for what the EU imposes upon them.

    Furthermore, as it is documented in the unjust and unequal provisions of the constitution (Lisbon Treaty) the EU has been established upon a profound social-economical-political imbalance. The implementation of these provisions inflict the major political, financial and economical inequalities among the member states, hence the colonising effects and the consequential deepening crisis and instability in Europe.

    For more, please read article referenced above.

  2. says

    The EU institutions are not really answerable to its citizens. There is a large democratic deficit which the EU Commission just likes to sweep under the carpet. Too many deals made behind closed doors

  3. says

    Congratulations with this new project. I am very much interested in at least following the activities, maybe contributing. Please let me know how.
    Francine Mestrum, PhD
    Global Social Justice, Brussels

    • Monique Riese says

      Of course you would be (interested) Brussels, Global Social Justice? Are you serious?
      It will just be another project where you can stick your little fingers in without having a clue as to what you are doing. Ever thought of having a REAL job? No, I did not think so.

  4. says

    It doesn’t help when the commission bosses tell citizens that federalism is a promise in waiting as Mr Barroso did this week. His claim that political fantasy will become a reality in a few years while the rest of us mull over a possible post EU Europe hardly inspires in any Brussels leadership.

    What’s real is Europe belongs to us and its destiny is our destiny. So this debate is not only about whether to follow Federalists into the unknown but rather how we as citizens can shape and direct Europe’s foreseeable future as we want it to be. This means accommodating all shades of opinion, views and aspirations. A founding principal which has got a bit lost in recent times.

    Federalists believe they can set up a central political and monetary union. If they also believe they can obtain this objective without the universal consent of all peoples and their nation states whether or not they (federalists) obtain a simple overall majority from Europe’s citizens, then Europe will fragment. This process is already underway but not complete. Federalist obsession to dictate the pace of change is fuelling the climate of apprehension which, if unchecked, will continue its path towards outright hostility.