Political battles which pit different interest groups against each other in Europe’s labour markets and welfare states are intensifying. They are making the task of assembling electoral coalitions and holding together a government more and more difficult for centre-left parties.
This backdrop sets the ground for a new Policy Network series of seminars with Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy. ‘Conflicts of Interest’ will include contributions from: David Rueda (University of Oxford) on the potential stranglehold a conflict between labour market ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ can have on social democracy; Bruno Palier (Sciences Po) on the emerging intergenerational conflict between young and old; Anne Wren (Trinity College Dublin) on the labour market impact of service-based economies; and Silja Häusermann (University of Zurich – invited) on labour markets and gender inequality.
In a new essay on the Political Observatory titled ‘Europe’s welfare and labour market conflicts: A fatal squeeze on the centre-left?’, Michael McTernan sets out how distributional conflicts are severely restraining the ‘catch-all’ ability of modern centre-left parties. Heightened political battles between interest groups are pulling policy responses to the crisis in different directions.
Growth and wealth in tomorrow’s Europe
Policy Network will be hosting an expert roundtable on Monday 28 October on ‘Growth and wealth creation in tomorrow’s Europe: Defining the EU’s added value’. A contribution to the WWWforEurope project, the event will discuss controversial issues that are set to be at the core of the next European elections campaign, such as the crippled dynamic of market integration, the intensifying demand for social safeguards, and the uneven quality of EU spending.
Three written contributions lay the ground for the discussions. Fredrik Erixon reminds us that, for all the talk about innovation, removing internal trade barriers remain the lowest hanging fruit for the EU. John Monks argues that social rights have been part of the ‘deeper Single Market’ agenda long pursued by British governments, and that these achievements need to be secured. Steve Coulter reflects on the options of an EU-wide investment programme in order to shock the continent out of its lethargy. The event will also draw on the Policy Network/Wifo paper by Renaud Thillaye on “Economic governance in a non-federal EU”.
Europe’s welfare and labour market conflicts: A fatal squeeze on the centre-left?
by MICHAEL MCTERNAN
Distributional conflicts between interest groups are pulling policy responses to the crisis in different directions. For centre-left parties, it has become increasingly difficult to hold together modern fragmented electorates.
The myth of a highly innovative age
by FREDRIK ERIXON
The EU believes innovation is derived by an expansion of input factors – spending on universities or R&D, expanding educational spending, industrial-policy strategies. However, innovation is about output and openness.
Protecting the UK from Mr Cameron’s race to the bottom
by JOHN MONKS
Millions of workers benefit from the EU’s social dimension. The EU’s employment laws are bulwarks against raids by the government. That is why the Conservatives hate them so venomously.
Investing in Europe’s physical and knowledge infrastructure
by STEVE COULTER
Europe would benefit from extra investment in both its physical and knowledge infrastructure – the two are necessities, not alternatives. But what are the political choices and impediments to an EU investment and growth agenda?
An “Alternative für Deutschland”?
by CARSTEN KOSCHMIEDER
At the recent election, the new party Alternative für Deutschland drew millions of voters with a eurosceptic message and only narrowly missed entering the Bundestag. What kind of party is this and who voted for it?
Why are Neo-liberal ideas so resilient?
by VIVIEN A. SCHMIDT & MARK THATCHER
Given the abject failure of the Neo-liberal policy offer, why has it persisted as the dominant approach to European policymaking and is there any way out?
Growth and wealth creation in tomorrow’s Europe: Defining the EU’s added value
28 October 2013, London
Business and Investment Department UK
London School of Economics
House of Lords
Notre Europe – Institut Jacques Delors
London School of Economics
The insider-outsider dilemma: A stranglehold on social democracy?
18 November 2013, London
Professor of comparative politics, Oxford University
Head of Economic and Social Affairs Department, TUC
Columnist, The Guardian