Monday, 20 May 2019 13:35

New Tensions over Social Europe? The European Pillar of Social Rights and the Debate within the European Parliament

P. Vesan, F. Corti, in Journal of Common Market Studies, First published: 10 May 2019,


In September 2015, the European Commission launched a new political initiative ‐‐ the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) ‐‐ with the stated aim of strengthening the social acquis of the European Union and promoting upward social convergence across eurozone countries. In January 2017, the European Parliament voted in a resolution supporting the EPSR. This article examines the positioning of the parliamentary political groups to grasp the tensions that emerged during the debate. In so doing, it provides empirical evidence of the existence of a complex ‘clash syndrome’ in European social policies which results from the combination of vertical and horizontal forms of euroscepticism. The main argument is that the coexistence of multiple political tensions may hamper the development of a stronger Social Europe, but may also lead to the emergence of new political coalitions through the ‘criss‐crossing’ of different lines of conflict.

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