In April 2023, the European Commission proposed comprehensive reforms to the EU’s economic governance framework, aiming to address high public debt levels while promoting sustainable and inclusive growth. Negotiations that followed paid much attention to the potential economic and less to social effects of reforms. However, social issues are on the top of the list of citizens’ concerns ahead of the European Parliament elections in June 2024.
In the latest issue of IEP’s “Berlin Perspectives”, Björn Hacker delves into this crucial aspect of the planned new economic governance framework. He traces the historical development of Social Europe, emphasizing the challenges of the crisis in the Eurozone and the efforts to revive Social Europe with initiatives such as the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). His paper critically evaluates the current governance framework, highlighting its imbalance towards economic aspects and the non-binding nature of social aspirations. He also argues for a shift in Germany’s approach to European economic governance away from its traditional focus on budgetary stability and towards a more comprehensive integration of social issues. Hacker provides concrete recommendations to foster social convergence, touching on the European Parliament's progressive stance, the proposal for a Social Convergence Framework, and the integration of tools like Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) into the crisis management framework.