Social Policy : Modest Success for a Social Europe **

Article excerpt

Although the new treaty only brings small advances for social policy, it can be considered a modest success at least for a social Europe. The document proves that Europe is not inherently hostile to social issues as the supporters of the yes' campaign for the draft EU Constitution had claimed. It also shows that supporters of the no' campaign, namely in the French and Dutch referendums, were correct to argue that the introduction of social provisions did not require a fundamental revision of the whole treaty.

There are six important provisions, which can be combined if need be.

1. The legal basis for public services (Article 14 TFEU);

2. A new protocol on services of general interest, thanks to the perseverance of the Dutch delegation (see separate article);

3. Social objectives, completed, and raised to the level of common objectives for the European Union in terms of its action and policy (thanks to the German Presidency in association with certain delegations, including the French one);

4. The horizontal social clause, which contains social requirements (high levels of employment, education and vocational training, social security guarantees, the fight against social exclusion, the protection of human health - Article 9 TFEU);

5. The Charter of Fundamental Rights is still binding despite the British opt-out (see separate article). …