IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

In the Beginning, There Was Social Policy: Developments in Social Policy in the European Union from 1972 through 2008

Listed author(s):
  • John T. Addison

    (Queen’s University Belfast (U.K), University of South Carolina (U.S.A.), and Rimini Center for Economic Analysis (Italy))

This paper argues that the evolution of social policy – vulgo: labor market mandates – in the European Union seems to follow a set path. Intervals of activism have been followed by challenges and checks to its development, but Treaty innovations (inter al.) have provided the impetus for further activism. The classic and first case in point was the Single European Act (1976), which presaged a new bout of legislation by widening the reach of qualified majority voting. The next was Maastricht, or the Treaty on European Union (1991) and the Agreement on Social Policy, which for the first time established a firm basis for social policy. An intermediate but instructive step was passage of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) which formally incorporated the latter into the main body of the treaty rather than leaving it as a Protocol appended to the treaty, The most recent instance is the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, which was to morph into the Reform (or Lisbon) Treaty of December 2007. This agreement portends more fundamental reforms for two reasons. First, it implies new legislation in the area of labor relations (issues such as pay determination, the rights to strike/lockout, and the right of association) previously expressly excluded from social policy. Second, it will test some member states applying European law, which means that theoretical opt outs may be just that. And, if history is any guide, there will be subsequent consolidation to bring the labor standards set under legislation into line with European Court of Justice decisions and a further ratcheting-up of standards.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Professional Reports with number 01_09.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimpre:01_09
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Via Patara, 3, 47921 Rimini (RN)

Phone: +390541434142
Fax: +39054155431
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rim:rimpre:01_09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marco Savioli)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.