During the Barroso Commissions (2004–2014) economic goals were deemed of much greater importance than social goals and social policy was largely seen as an obstacle to economic growth, innovation and balanced budgets. As a consequence, in that period, there were few new EU initiatives in the field of social policy while pressure to downscale or decentralise was exerted on national social policies. In recent years, however, the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), the COVID crisis, but also climate change and digitalisation have opened up new space to advance social themes and to expand Social Europe. Accordingly, the discourse of the European institutions has dramatically changed from one of picturing social policies as a cost factor to one of emphasising the need to strengthen social rights in order to tackle successfully the multiple challenges faced by European societies. For example, the EPSR Action Plan states that ‘We need to enhance social rights and to strengthen the European social dimension across all policies of the Union as enshrined in the Treaties. This will ensure that the transition to climate-neutrality, digitalisation and demographic change are socially fair and just, and making the European Green Deal and the upcoming 2030 Digital Decade successes for all Europeans.’ It also sets three ambitious goals that should be met by 2030: at least 78 per cent of the population aged 20 to 64 should be in employment; at least 60 per cent of all adults should be participating in training every year; and a reduction of at least 15 million in the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Maarten Keune and Philippe Pochet

The full issue can be found here

Co-editors: Philippe Pochet, Vera Šćepanović, Maarten Keune

Managing Editor: Marina Luttrell


Editorial - Maarten Keune, Philippe Pochet

Main Articles

The revival of Social Europe: is this time different? - Maarten Keune, Philippe Pochet

EU employment policy and social citizenship (2009–2022): an inclusive turn after the Social Pillar? - Robin Huguenot-Noël, Francesco Corti

The Roaring 20s for Social Europe. The European Pillar of Social Rights and burgeoning EU legislation - Claire Kilpatrick

Poverty and social exclusion in the EU: third-order priorities, hybrid governance and the future potential of the field - Paul Copeland

Lost in transition? Social justice and the politics of the EU green transition - Amandine Crespy, Mario Munta

EU Policy Debate

Round Table. Implementing the EU Directive on adequate minimum wages in southern Europe: the odd case of Italy - Giovanni Orlandini, Guglielmo Meardi

News and background

The emerging corporate sustainability reporting system: what role for workers’ representatives? - Sigurt Vitols

Book Reviews

The role of social partners in managing Europe’s great recession. Crisis corporatism or corporatism in crisis?Franziska Laudenbach

Mediterranean Capitalism Revisited - Niccolo Durazzi