The European Social Question

Tackling Key Controversies

Amandine Crespy

£65.00  |  $90.00
ISBN 9781788213578
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788213585
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788213592
256 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  13 January 2022


"Thanks to Crespy’s impressive knowledge of the field and her admirable clarity of writing, readers are guided through academic and policy debates about Social Europe to attain a full understanding of present-day challenges and future perspectives. A must-read for students, researchers and all those interested in a fairer and more democratic European Union." – Maurizio Ferrara, Professor of Politics, University of Milan

"Amandine Crespy, a leading scholar on Social Europe, presents an excellent 'state of the art' on the (increasing) complexity of European social integration. This book is an excellent, well-documented, analysis of the piecemeal development of social Europe, presented clearly and pedagogically. I especially appreciate how critical reflections on the challenges with the social dimension of Europe are woven into each chapter. Strongly recommended for academics, practitioners and students interested in the social dimension of Europe." – Caroline de la Porte, Professor, Copenhagen Business School


Over recent years it has become increasingly clear that the European Union is falling short of its promise to enhance social cohesion across the continent. Welfare state modernization has been at the centre of divisive debates over the redistribution of wealth and imbalances between a wealthy European core and its peripheries. Some see the policies and governance of the EU as part of the problem, others rather as the solution.

This book examines the key issues facing the EU’s social policy-making. Each chapter focuses on a single challenge and explores the arguments and considerations that coalesce around it. The book helps students and researchers alike to understand how the EU operates and shapes social policy on multiple levels, and to better assess the EU’s role in supporting social cohesion.


Introduction: “Social Europe”: irrelevant, catching up, or dangerous?
1. What is the European social question?
2. Is the EU a key player in addressing social issues?
3. Are socially-minded actors too weak in EU policy-making?
4. Is European social regulation a thing of the past?
5. Does liberalization undermine social cohesion?
6. Does the European social dialogue really protect European workers?
7. Does soft coordination support welfare states?
8. Is redistribution unconditional?
9. Is the EU fit for the social challenges of the twenty-first century?
Conclusion: from the social question to the democratic question
Index of CJEU Rulings

Author Information

Amandine Crespy is Associate Professor in Political Science and European Studies at the Université libre de Bruxelles and a visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges. She is the author of Welfare Markets in Europe: The Democratic Challenge of European Integration (2016) and the co-editor of Governance and Politics in the Post-Crisis European Union (with R. Coman and V. Schmidt) (2020).

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