Revisiting the European social model(s) debate: challenges and prospects

Philip Whyman, Mark Baimbridge, Andrew Mullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the distinctive features of the post-war process of European economic and political integration is the debate about the emergence of a European Social Model (ESM). Advocates and critics have clashed over the precise meaning of the ESM concept, whether it exists in a meaningful and singular form, and whether it challenges or bolsters – by providing some sort of discursive justification – the current neoliberal trajectory of the European Union (EU). While some of the claimed elements of the ESM do exist/have been adopted, this article argues that they do not constitute a coherent alternative to the dominant market liberal model and bias towards negative integration that has underpinned the EU since the 1980s. Furthermore, contemporary developments have served to further entrench these tendencies at the expense of progressive social forces that seek to construct a genuine ESM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8
JournalL'Europe en Formation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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