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1.4 Program for the Study of Germany and Europe

The Prospects for Social Europe

1991 Paul Pierson


Although European integration has recently accelerated, the European Community's role in the formation of social policy remains quite limited. After reviewing the current scope of EC social policy, this paper considers the prospects for future reform. There are strong reasons to discount a scenario of rapid expansion in the short or medium-term. However, increased interdependen­ cies resulting primarily from the on-going process of economic integration suggest growing pressures for an extension of the Community's activity. This will be especially true if heightened economic competition and the rules governing the single market begin to erode national welfare state regimes.