Social Europe after Brexit
in The European Union after Brexit
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Most discussion of Brexit’s social aspects has focused on what led to the referendum outcome and its implications for the United Kingdom; the implications for the rest of the EU are less explored. This chapter focuses on the meaning and future of ‘social Europe’ and the interplay between two issues: the broader political economy of social policy in Europe, and the changing balance of social models among the remaining 27 member states. The chapter argues first that without the UK, a preponderance of EU member states will rely on forms of neocorporatism as well as a greater role for the state, potentially changing the essentially regulatory, ‘Eurolegalistic’ approach of EU law in social policy. Second, since much EU social policy is a regulatory outgrowth of economic policy, which is increasingly driven by Eurozone agendas, the EU’s fiscal governance system will build austerity into public policy decisions. Finally, the future of EU social policy will be shaped by the loss of the UK as a pillar of a liberal ‘northern’ block of states, fewer strategic options for Germany and more power for France.

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