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The Politics of European Union’s Social Investment Initiatives


This chapter focuses on why and how social investment has developed at the European Union level. The chapter identifies five main sequences in the development of the European social investment strategy. The perspective proposed by the EU institutions started with a focus on labor market participation (hence focusing on the skill mobilization function of social investment) before being broadened in 2000 to a perspective that included skill creation as much as skill mobilization and preservation. It then changed again toward a return to workforce mobilization and experienced a specific “social investment moment” with the Social Investment Package, before being embedded within a broader pillar of social rights. Two main dynamics explain the metamorphoses of the EU’s approach to social investment. First, there is an “internal” dynamic, consisting of internal battles within the European institutions between European “economically oriented” actors and “socially oriented” ones. Second, the changes in emphasis on social investment in the EU over time reflect political priorities in member states. The higher the number of left-leaning governments within the EU, the more inclusive and broad are the proposed social investment perspectives. Conversely, the higher the number of right-leaning governments, the more concentration on stratified and targeted social investment, focused merely on workforce mobilization.
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hal-03783259 , version 1 (22-09-2022)


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Caroline de La Porte, Bruno Palier. The Politics of European Union’s Social Investment Initiatives. Julian L. Garritzmann; Silja Häusermann; Bruno Palier. The World Politics of Social Investment: Volume I. Welfare States in the Knowledge Economy, 1, Oxford University Press, pp.132-170, 2022, 9780197585245. ⟨10.1093/oso/9780197585245.003.0004⟩. ⟨hal-03783259⟩
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