European Social Union: a public forum debate

A set of articles authored by high-level academic figures deals with the establishment of the European Social Union (ESU) from a policy and normative perspective. The aim of this issue is to let the debate on the potentialities of ESU emerge during the run-up to the next European elections of May 2019.

“European Social Union: a public forum debate” is an editorial project dealing with the possible establishment of a European Social Union (ESU), the prospects of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and the role that the latter might play as one of ESU’s key components.

A set of articles authored by high-level academic figures will discuss the raison d’être of ESU, the EPSR and their mutual link from a variety of perspectives.

In parallel with the publication of these in-depth articles, EuVisions will produce a second set of contents, involving policymakers and top officials. This second series of contents will take the form of podcast-interviews.

The aim of the editorial project is to let the potentials of ESU and the EPSR emerge during the run-up to the next European elections of May 2019.

EuVisions aims at involving key national and European media outlets, as well as think tanks and universities to maximise the reach of this debate.

To get in touch with EuVisions and participate as a partner in disseminating the contents
of the debate, please write to

The European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Social Union: creating the link

In order to encourage and facilitate the conceptual and policy link between the Pillar and ESU, Euvisions launches today a debate with two introductory contributions by Frank Vandenbroucke and Maurizio Ferrera, followed by two comments by Manos Matsaganis and Anton Hemerijck.

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The European Pillar of Social Rights: from promise to delivery – An introduction to the ESU debate

by Frank Vandenbroucke, University of Amsterdam

In November 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission jointly and solemnly proclaimed a European Pillar of Social Rights: a set of 20 principles about equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. Some principles are well-known, as they have already been formulated in the context of earlier efforts to coordinate the Member States’ policies.

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Crafting the ESU: towards a roadmap for delivery

by Maurizio Ferrera, University of Milan

At the end of his introductory contribution to this debate, Vandenbroucke invites a reflection on priority selection and on a possible “roadmap for delivery” – building in particular on the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). In this contribution, I want to pick up this invitation and make a proposal on how the bold intellectual idea of a European Social Union could be turned into institutional practice.

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Snakes and ladders on the road to ESU

by Manos Matsaganis, Polytechnic University of Milan

In joining this debate, I will focus on three topics: the constraints placed by diversity, and how to overcome them; the limits of unemployment (re)insurance, and the need to address new forms of ‘worklessness’; and the contribution of a European Social Union to the goal of coping with the transformations of work.

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Who’s afraid of the European Social Union? A contribution to the ESU debate

by Anton Hemerijck, European University Institute

Untold lessons from the Great Recession call for a transformation in the Eurozone governance regime from a ‘disciplining device’ over member welfare states into a European Social Union (ESU) as a ‘holding environment’ for active welfare states to prosper.

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A Timely Call for a Social Union

by Laszlo Andor

A Social Union cannot just mean more EU level legislation, as it cannot purely be built through more policy coordination or through budgetary instruments either. All three arms of governance have to play a role and in due coordination.

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