Social Policy in the European Union: Between Harmonization and National Autonomy

Social Policy in the European Union: Between Harmonization and National Autonomy

Social Policy in the European Union: Between Harmonization and National Autonomy

Social Policy in the European Union: Between Harmonization and National Autonomy

Synopsis

This study provides a systematic examination of the feasibility of a common European Union social policy superimposed on 15 distinctive national systems. The authors trace the making of EU social policy from formulation to implementation, highlighting the roles of labour unions and employers' associations. By focusing on the European Works Council Directive, they are able to examine implementation by both member states and multinational corporations.

Excerpt

As the twenty-first century begins, the European Union (EU) has a single market and a new monetary system but lacks a social policy to match the stature of its economic and monetary policies. This book presents one more study of EU social policy but one that differs from others in both approach and subject matter. The book has a dual subject: EU social policy at the end of the twentieth century and an indepth study of an EU directive. The general study provides an overview of trends and assesses the status of the policy; the in-depth study offers a unique insight into the dynamics that shape a social policy. Our approach is based on concepts drawn from a number of disciplines. Previous studies have focused primarily on policymaking, utilizing concepts drawn from the social sciences. In contrast, this study is comprehensive, tracing a policy from inception to implementation. While using concepts from the social sciences, it also draws on work in international business studies and industrial relations.

Following a general discussion of social policy at the end of the twentieth century, the book focuses on the European Works Council Directive (EWCD) as the vehicle to analyze questions surrounding EU social policy. The study moves from Brussels to the member states and into the corporations affected by the directive. It includes the usual cast of actors but also brings in hitherto unnoticed actors such as human resource directors and officials in industry committees of European labor unions. The EWCD is a valid vehicle for the study for a number of reasons. It is regarded by many as the most important directive adopted under the rubric of social policy in the 1990s. It imposes the practice of . . .

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