The European Union is excellently equipped to pursue the most urgent issues facing the advanced world: combating environmental damage and climate change, coping with the massive aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, reforming globalisation, regulating financialised capitalism, reducing material inequalities and reconciling the future of work in a rapidly changing economy with workers’ needs for secure lives. The EU’s leading role as global standard-setter, and the potential of the social-investment welfare state, are among the instruments at its disposal.
But, argues Colin Crouch in this manifesto for a return to the ‘social Europe’ agenda, to achieve these goals the EU needs to face the two menaces stalking today’s politics: neoliberalism and xenophobic nationalism. To do so it must confront the weakness of social democracy, historically the main political protagonist of the causes of co-operation and inclusion on which the strategy depends.
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