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Terms such as 'Social Europe' and 'European Social Model' have long resided in the political and regulatory lexicon of European integration. But in recent years, and in spite of the adoption of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the EU social profile has entered a profound period of crisis. The ECJ judgments of Viking and Laval exemplify the unresolved tension between the EU's strong market imperatives and its fragile social aspirations while the ongoing economic crisis, while the various 'bail out' packages are producing a constant retrenchment of social rights. The status quo is one in which workers appear to shoulder most of the risks attendant on making and executing arrangements for the doing of work. Chapters in this book advocate a reversal of this trend in favour of fair mutualization, so as to disperse these risks and share them more equitably between employers, the state, and society at large.
This volume of essays casts light on the shape and future direction of the EU in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty and highlights the incomplete nature of the reforms. Contributors analyse some of the most innovative and most controversial aspects of the Treaty, such as the role and nature of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the relationship between the EU and the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, they reflect on the ongoing economic and financial crisis in the Euro area, which has forced the EU Member States to re-open negotiations and update a number of aspects of the Lisbon 'settlement'. Together, the essays provide a variety of insights into some of the most crucial innovations introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and in the context of the adoption of the new European Financial Stability Mechanism.