Economic union without social union: The strange case of the European social dialogue

By April 20, 2018Social dialogue

The recent centralization of European economic governance raises the question of parallel developments in European social policy. On the basis of an examination of the case of the European social dialogue, the propensity of ‘spill-over’ theories to explain developments in the social sphere is considered. The following three potential future trajectories for the dialogue are reviewed: the possibility of the dialogue (1) becoming broader and more redistributive, (2) becoming a means of European Union (EU)-level wage control or (3) remaining in its current form. It is concluded that the status quo is likely to endure and that such a development threatens the integrity of spill-over theories and raises the issue of the dialogue’s utility to European trade unions.

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