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Social politics and Europe – a contradiction?

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Raiffeisensaal
Plenary
in englischer Sprache

Vortragende

Head, Section European Politics, Confederation of German Trade Unions, Berlin Abstract
 The social content of European integration, the social face of Europe, is a matter of crucial concern for the citizens of the Union

Is there a general incompatibility between  Social politics and  Europe or a contradiction in terms? No, but there is definitely a lack of agreement concerning the direction and intensity of social integration and about the balance and interdependency between economic and social integration. Is  Social Europe a goal in itself or is it only a consequence and by-product of economic integration? Here a certain  clash of values is visible, although the dividing line is not mainly between political families - conservative or labour/socialist, liberal - but between national traditions and perceptions of European integration and  Social Europe .
Social policy can be defined as a field particularly aiming at well-being and welfare; it covers not only social services and social security but a range of issues.
The social policy objectives defined in the Treaty were inspired by the 1961 European Social Charter and the 1989 Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers: et al. improving living and working conditions, proper social protection, high and sustainable level of employment, combating social exclusion.
The different instruments and processes for social politics in Europe are:
-EU legislation (e.g. in the area of health and safety, improving working conditions, information and consultation of workers, equality, non-discrimination)
-Social dialogue (e.g. charters, codes of conduct, agreements)
-Cooperation between Member States (Open method of Coordination e.g. in the area of social protection and social inclusion)
-EU funding (EU's Structural Funds, the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the PROGRESS Programme on employment and social solidarity).
Former president of the EU-Commission J. Delors and others had the strong vision, that the common market also needed a social dimension. It took quite some time and a couple of steps  e.g. the Social Protocol, the Maastricht- and Amsterdam-Treaty - as well as comple-menting regulatory initiatives, especially in the 90´s, to shape and develop Social Europe.
Nevertheless economic and market integration were much faster and more substantial than social integration and resulted in forms of indirect or negative integration which creates new problems and risks (social dumping or the stability of national social systems etc.).
At the same time, increasing mobility of workers in Europe is one of the reasons why we need more and better European solutions for  Working Europe - to stick to the promises of a European labour market and to social progress ( a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress , as stated in the Lisbon Treaty).
Member, Employees Group (II), European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels; Head, Department of Europe and International Relations, Union of Salaried Private Sector Employees, Graphical Workers and Journalists, Vienna Abstract
Social politics and Europe, is this a contradiction? - A sophisticated question which deserves a differentiated answer:

- On the one hand, in a normative view  NO  there is no contradiction : The principle of common welfare prosperity, social progress, social politics and active employment engagement is an integrative part of the acquis communautaire - and the Lisbon Treaty will strengthen this constitutional basis of the European Social Model.

- On the other hand, in a more factual view  YES  in consideration of the social reality, today EU 27 is far away from being a Social Europe based on broad core of European Social policy including distribution as hard-core competence. The path of European Integration is still be beaten out of a deep and lasting political imbalance in favour of economic and financial targets including an extensive interpretation of competition law which conflicts social progress in many respects.

Against this background Europe needs to change track to merge constitutional promises and political reality in order to provide people all over Europe with security and to win back trust in the EU. In this regard the touch-and-go of the coming Post-2010-Lisbon-Strategy has in any case to be politically utilised to set up a revised path which avoids negative integration in particular in the field of social cohesion. A respective political commitment lancing a concrete action plan - involving social partners and civil society organisations  should be a pre-condition to this end.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) put forward concrete policy recommendation addressed to key players on EU level as well as in Member States how Europe will be allowed in fact to become an economic zone that is capable of achieving long-term economic growth with more and better jobs as well as greater social cohesion while in the same time prevent the current crisis from being repeated.
Former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic; Adviser to the President of the Senate of the Czech Republic, Prague
Director, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna Chair

Gabriele BISCHOFF

Head, Section European Politics, Confederation of German Trade Unions, Berlin

1980 High School Diploma
1981-1983 Phillipps-University Marburg, Germany
1983-1988 Free University of Berlin, Political Science
1988 Diploma in Political Science at the Free University of Berlin
1988-1989 Berliner Institut für Sozialforschung (Berlin Institute for Social Research), Researcher
1989-2001 FHW-Berlin School of Economics, Researcher
1991-1996 IG Metall Germany, Senior-Advisor for Equality
1997-2000 IG Metall Germany, Head of Department
2000-2005 Social Attaché at the Permanent Representation of Germany
2006-2008 Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Germany), Senior Advisor EU-Presidency-Affairs
since 2008 DGB, Head of Department European Policy

MA Wolfgang GREIF

Member, Employees Group (II), European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels; Head, Department of Europe and International Relations, Union of Salaried Private Sector Employees, Graphical Workers and Journalists, Vienna

 Master's degree in history and political sciences at the University of Vienna
 Post-Graduate, Political sciences at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Vienna
since 1992 Employed at ÖGB (Austrian Trade Union Federation); currently head of the department "Europe, Multinational Companies and International Relations", Union of Salaried Private Sector Employees, Graphical Workers and Journalists (GPA-djp), Vienna
since 2002 Austrian member in the European Economic and Social Committee, Sections SOC (Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship and ECO (Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion), Brussels

Vladimír SPIDLA

Former European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic; Adviser to the President of the Senate of the Czech Republic, Prague

1974 Master Degree, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Charles University of Prague
1976 Ph.D., History and Prehistory, Charles University of Prague
1976-1989 A respectable person did not make a special career in my country at that time. So, following my studies I occupied different positions in different sectors very often just as a worker: Saw-mill worker, scene-shifter, dairy industry worker, archaeologist, public administrator in nature protection and environment, construction worker etc.
1990-1991 Vice-Chairman of Regional Public Authority in Jindrichuv Hradec
1991-1996 Director of Regional Employment Authority in Jindrichuv Hradec
  Chairman of the Social Policy and Health Care Committee of the Chamber
1996-2004 Member of the Czech Parliament Chamber of Deputies for the CSSD
1997-2001 Vice-Chairman of the CSSD - Czech Social Democratic Party
1998-2002 First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
2001-2004 Chairman of the CSSD - Czech Social Democratic Party
2002-2004 Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
2004-2010 European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
since 2011 Adviser to the Chairman of the Senate (Mr. Milan `tch), Czech Republic

Dr. Karl AIGINGER

Director, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna

1966-1970 Studies of Economics, University of Vienna
since 1970 Economic Researcher, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna
1982 Visiting Professor, Stanford University, California
1984-1987 Deputy Director, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna
1991 Visiting Professor, MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts
1993-2000 Member, Supervisory Board, ÖIAG - Österreichische Industrieholding, Vienna
1996-1998 Deputy Director, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna
1997 Visiting Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
2000-2004 Deputy Director, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna
since 1992 Honorary Professor, Industrial Economics & Economic Policies, Johannes Kepler University Linz
since 2000 Editor, Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade together with Marcel Canoy
2002 Visiting Professor, Research and Lecturing, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
since 2005 Director, WIFO - Austrian Institute of Economic Research, Vienna
since 2006 Professor for Economic Policy, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna
since 2012 Coordinator, WWWforEurope (European Commission FP7)