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Author: Social Europe Journal

“European Pillar Of Social Rights Mirrors EU Good Intentions And Contradictions” by Amandine Crespy

Amandine Crespy On 26 April the European Commission presented its long-awaited proposal for establishing a European Pillar of Social Rights designed to achieve ‘upward convergence’. Very much like the European Semester, the Pillar looks like yet another broad meta-policy process which blurs responsibilities and channels of accountability by conflating regional, national and EU competences. Thus, the chances are high that it will result in opaque politics, and the systematic bureaucratic surveillance of disappointing outcomes. Moreover, the question of how this fits with the EU’s fiscal discipline remains open and makes one wonder about the coherence of the EU’s socio-economic...

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“The Robots Are Coming, Mr Mnuchin” by Lawrence H. Summers

Larry Summers As I learned (sometimes painfully) during my time at the Treasury Department, words spoken by Treasury secretaries can over time have enormous consequences, and therefore should be carefully considered. In this regard, I am very surprised by two comments made by Secretary Steven Mnuchin in his first public interview last week. In reference to a question about artificial intelligence displacing American workers, Mnuchin responded that “I think that is so far in the future — in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs — I think we’re, like, so far away from that [50 to 100 years],...

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“Work-Life Balance Policies – A Game Changer For Europe?” by Barbara Helfferich

Barbara Helfferich The European Commission, mindful again – finally – of its political role and responsibilities to uphold the law and the values of the European Union, has made an unexpected move to give Europe back some of its social dimension. The package of legislative and non-legislative initiatives on work-life balance that the Commission put forward on 26th April is also an acknowledgment that investing in people makes economic sense; that enabling women to fully partake in the labor market will save Europe a staggering €370 billion a year according to the most recent study by Eurofound. The proposal...

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“Do We Know What Kind Of Brexit Theresa May Really Wants?” by John Palmer

John Palmer The first contacts between the lead European Commission Brexit negotiators and the UK prime minister Theresa May appear to have got off to a disastrous start. There is some speculation that the entire Brexit negotiations could break down before they have really begun. On this scenario, the UK could be heading for the kind of catastrophic ‘over the cliff’ hard Brexit that the UK government has always refused to rule out. Some in the City financial sector and in big business have reacted with horror as has the opposition Labour Party. This may be May’s intention. Many...

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“EU-Turkey Accession Negotiations – Renewed Case For Suspension” by Mehmet Ugur

Mehmet Ugur In Social Europe on 12 December 2016, I argued that EU-Turkey accession negotiations should be suspended until the Turkish government: (a) agrees to a new set of reforms that would reverse the extensive damage done to democracy and rule of law; and (b) delivers reforms in accordance with agreed milestones. Some critics rushed to reiterate the case for appeasement and explained why suspension would not work. Their narrative turned a blind eye to the gradual establishment of dictatorship in Turkey and called for saving EU-Turkey relations and the EU itself through heightened cooperation with Turkey even as...

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“EU Needs Fair Work-life Balance” by Montserrat Mir Roca

Montserrat Mir Roca When the nuts and bolts of the long-awaited European Pillar of Social Rights are unveiled at the end of April, the European Commission will at the same time set out plans to achieve a better balance between work and private life. This issue affects the lives of millions of Europeans, and has a direct bearing on economic growth and popular support for the EU. Trade unions believe ambitious action is needed. Let’s look at the economic arguments. The EU has set the target of a 75% employment rate for both women and men by 2020. But...

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“After The Rome Declaration: A Union – Not A State” by Sergio Fabbrini

Sergio Fabbrini As was predictable, the Rome Declaration of 25 March 2017 (for the sixtieth anniversary of the Rome Treaties) ended up in an ambiguous compromise. Even Merkel’s wishes to introduce the principle of a multi-speed Europe into the Declaration was scaled down. The Declaration recites: “We will act together, at different paces and intensity where necessary, while moving in the same direction, as we have done in the past, in line with the Treaties and keeping the door open to those who want to join later. Our Union is undivided and indivisible”. Indeed, the EU 27 member states...

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“The Great Eurozone Bounceback” by Anatole Kaletsky

Anatole Kaletsky Where in the world would you expect economic growth to accelerate most this year? In my view, the region set to enjoy the most positive economic and financial surprises this year will be the European Union, and specifically the much-maligned eurozone. Growth in Europe has languished since the 2008 crash for a number of reasons, including delays in agreeing on aggressive monetary and fiscal expansion, similar to America’s. But a change began, little noticed, two years ago when the European Central Bank launched an even bigger bond-buying program than the US Federal Reserve’s. And by last summer,...

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