The European Union is excellently equipped to pursue the most urgent issues facing the advanced world: combating environmental damage and climate change, coping with the massive aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, reforming globalisation, regulating financialised capitalism, reducing material inequalities and reconciling the future of work in a rapidly changing economy with workers’ needs for secure lives. The EU’s leading role as global standard-setter, and the potential of the social-investment welfare state, are among the instruments at its disposal.
But, argues Colin Crouch in this manifesto for a return to the ‘social Europe’ agenda, to achieve these goals the EU needs to face the two menaces stalking today’s politics: neoliberalism and xenophobic nationalism. To do so it must confront the weakness of social democracy, historically the main political protagonist of the causes of co-operation and inclusion on which the strategy depends.
Colin Crouch is a professor emeritus of the University of Warwick and external scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies at Cologne. He has published within the fields of comparative European sociology and industrial relations, economic sociology and contemporary issues in British and European politics. His most recent books include The Globalization Backlash (Polity, 2018), Will the Gig Economy Prevail? (Polity, 2019) and Post-democracy after the Crises (Polity 2020).