The political economy of European integration and the challenge of the 2004 and 2007 EU enlargements
in EU enlargement, the clash of capitalisms and the European social dimension
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The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the political economy of European integration and to examine the EU’s competence within employment and social policy. It argues that the EU’s involvement in social policy and labour can best be understood as a European social dimension (ESD) – that is, although there is considerable political activity at EU level in terms of employment and social policy, unlike the SEM or Monetary Union, integration within the field is a work in progress. Its current and future developments are therefore very much dependent upon the EU’s political constellations. The chapter concludes by identifying the 2004 and 2007 new member States as a potential threat to the ESD.

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