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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: July 2009

4 - Forms of regulation of social Europe and models of the European economic constitution

Summary

Introduction

The purpose of this final chapter is twofold.

Its first aim is to ‘systematize’, and at any rate analyse organically, a theme that has in a way been a strand running through the entire book: the far-reaching evolution (or considerable transformation) which has taken place, from the entry into force of the founding Treaties to the present day, in the forms of positive integration of national social systems.

The centrality of this theme within the more general discourse on the metamorphoses of the Community economic constitution, and on the different role gradually assumed in such a context by the forms in which European ‘social policy’ has been conceived and given practical implementation, is quite obvious. The transition from forms of social policy centred on the model of ‘hard’ upward harmonization to increasingly light and flexible methods of regulatory intervention somewhat removed from the traditional protective logic, and even more so the use of instruments of co-ordination of the ‘post-regulatory’ type, constitute essential elements of these metamorphoses and therefore need to be focused more carefully.

The second aim of the chapter consists in correlating these changes with the ideal economic-constitution models that they entail. An analytical comparison of the various ideal models of a European economic constitution as viewed in the abstract will serve to highlight the (differing) problems of effectiveness and legitimacy (inevitably) inherent in any given form of supranational intervention in social matters.

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