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Contribution to Collected Edition

EC Social Policy: The Defeat of the Delorist Project


Ziltener,  Patrick
Regimewettbewerb und Integration in den industriellen Beziehungen, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Ziltener, P. (2000). EC Social Policy: The Defeat of the Delorist Project. In V. Bornschier (Ed.), State-Building in Europe: The Revitalization of Western European Integration (pp. 152-184). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-5522-B
e relatively low rank of the ‘social dimension’ in the renewed push for European integration in the 1980s provides the starting point for three competing theses on the integration process. First, the cornerstone thesis holds that, from the beginning, the Europeanization of social policy was a cornerstone of the integration project as conceived by the supra-national political entrepreneur, the EC Commission, and certain governments. The conception of the social policy domain in the Single Act (most importantly, Articles 21 and 22 of the Single European Act, i.e. Articles 118a and 118b in the EC treaties) remained narrow for purely tactical reasons so as not to endanger the strategic goal of relaunching European integration. Second, the supplement thesis states that the core of the project, which was legally established by the Single Act, was the internal market. When it became apparent that this effort might not be successful (particularly owing to the public debate about its social consequences in the years 1987–8), it became necessary to provide, albeit belatedly, a social policy cushion for the impact of the internal market. According to neo function a list reasoning, the politicization of social policy following the Single Act was an aftereffect of intensified economic integration. The packaging thesis argues that the weak social policy regulations together with the abundance of social rhetoric were merely an expression of the selling of an elite pact to the European public; it was simply a matter of ‘packaging the package’. According to this thesis, social policy regulations at the European level were not really sought after by the main actors.