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ILS – RSL Lunch Seminar on Social Policy and ECJ Jurisprudence with Harvard Professor Jason Beckfield

On Wednesday 23 May, a jointly organized Lunch Seminar between the research programs Interaction Between Legal Systems and Reform of Social Legislation takes place. In this very special seminar we have the honour of receiving Prof. Jason Beckfield from Harvard University.

Jason Beckfield is Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where his research focuses on the institutional causes and consequences of social inequality. During this special ILS – RSL Lunch Seminar, he will give a presentation titled “The Welfare State Meets European Integration: The Place of ECJ Jurisprudence in Retrenchment and Convergence”. The introduction of the single European market led to market-first policy making at the EU level, which started constraining EU welfare states from the 1990s, accelerating in the 2000s. This happened in part through rulings of the European Court of Justice and in part through a “softer” harmonization and coordination process, causing contradictions between welfare sates and market technologies to arise and grow. Through a dyadic longitudinal analysis of multiple measures of social policy, Beckfield will show that as European political integration deepened and ECJ rulings further constrained national member states, welfare states both converged and contracted.

You can find the abstract of his presentation underneath. This combined ILS – RSL Lunch Seminar will take place on Wednesday 23 May 2018, 12:00 – 13:00 hrs (KOG B0.13). Lunch is provided and there is no need to register, just join! Please look on our website for more information on ILS or RSL.

Jason Beckfield - "The Welfare State Meets European Integration: The Place of ECJ Jurisprudence in Retrenchment and Convergence"

The Euro-crisis of 2009-2012 vividly demonstrated that European Union policies matter for national social policy, and thus for the distribution of resources within and between European nation-states.  Throughout the crisis, distributive conflicts between the EU’s winners and losers worsened, and are still reverberating in European politics today.  With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that the Single European Act of 1985 had an array of intended and unintended consequences for the European welfare state.  With the Single European Act, EU policymakers revived the integration project by elevating the single market to the top priority of European law, and by constitutionalizing the neoliberal notion that markets can solve social and political problems.  As the single market project deepened, in part through the rulings of the European Court of Justice and in part through “softer” harmonization and coordination processes, contradictions between welfare states and market technologies emerged and grew.  This presentation tells the story of how market-first policymaking at the EU and national levels constrained EU welfare states, in part through ECJ jurisprudence, beginning in the 1990s and accelerating in the 2000s.  A dyadic longitudinal analysis of multiple measures of social policy show that as European political integration deepened, and as ECJ rulings further constrained national member states, welfare states both converged and contracted.

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