Socializing the European Semester: EU social and economic policy co-ordination in crisis and beyond

2017-08-30T10:09:19Z (GMT) by Jonathan Zeitlin Bart Vanhercke

This contribution analyses how EU social objectives and policy co-ordination have been integrated into the Union’s post-crisis governance architecture. It argues that between 2011 and 2016, there was a partial but progressive ‘socialization’ of the ‘European Semester’ of policy co-ordination, in terms of increasing emphasis on social objectives in its priorities and key messages, including the Country-Specific Recommendations; intensified social monitoring and review of national reforms; and an enhanced decision-making role for EU social and employment actors. In explaining these developments, the contribution highlights the contribution of strategic agency, reflexive learning and creative adaptation by social and employment actors to the new institutional conditions of the Semester, building on recent theoretical work on ‘actor-centred constructivism’ and the ‘usages of Europe’.