From Social Citizenship towards a European Welfare State - A vague concept as a driving force?

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2006

22 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Content

I. Introduction

II. The Concept of Social Citizenship – a framework?
II.1. Historical Development
II.2. Citizenship versus nationality
II.3. The third element: Social Citizenship

III. The Change of European Social Policies
III.1. External Pressures
III.2. The Rise of Social Policies

IV. Applying to Reality
IV.1. Citizen’s World
IV.1.a. Who are Europeans?
IV.1.b. The legal Perspective
IV.1.c. The Social Inclusion
IV.1.d. Results
IV.2. Structural Context
IV.3. Development over Time – the Future

V. Conclusion

List of References


I. Introduction

In the past decades social policies in the European Union gained more competences and influence - at the same time core policies in this field, like education and health, are still regulated within the sovereignty of the nation states. Since the beginning of the development of the European Union in the 1950s economic considerations have been the core, drivers and barriers of most policies and steps on the way of the expansion from a mere economic cooperation to a somehow political union.

Anyway, this focus will remain in the near future, but for a further economic integration a rethinking of the social policies within the Union is necessary – due to the fact that on the one hand economic integration generates pressures for the welfare states and especially for the people living in, or depending on, those states. Furthermore the past east-European enlargement introduced even more types of welfare states or welfare regimes to the already fragmented or nested set within the former 15 member states.

On the other hand social policies are vital for the legitimacy of the “government”, which means in this deliberation the European Union as a whole. Democracies rely on the support of the people, thus further integration would need to be supported by the citizens of the European Union. One way of how people feel attached to a state is citizenship. The Maastricht-Treaty of the European Community established the “European Citizenship” and the Europeans gained (at least formally) new rights.

Classically citizenship is distinguished according to Marshall into a civil, a political and a social element. These different types of rights derive from a historically evolutionary process. Therefore the next alleged step in the EU would be the creation of social citizenship, which would imply a transfer of further social policies to the EU-level, or even the shift from a “regulatory state” to a system of entitlements, and therefore to a complete reorientation in the European social policy tradition, which might in the end lead to a European Welfare State.

In the (scientific) debate about the future of the welfare state, social citizenship is among the concepts that are regarded as drivers – or even as necessary premises - for further integration in the social policy field. But: Citizenship is a vague concept; and European Social Citizenship is it even more. If this concept then really can be regarded as a driver shall be analysed by the following research question:

Is the concept of European Citizenship a driving force for further integration of European Social Policies?

The first part of the paper after the introduction elaborates on the concept of Citizenship as a groundwork and on the social side of it in particular. The historical development will show briefly when and why the idea of citizenship originated and what the boundary towards nationality is. Maurice Roche developed a system of three interlinked dimensions of citizenship: the citizen’s world, the structural context and the historical development. These dimensions are applied to Social Citizenship and Social Policies and by this a concise framework will be developed (which is the analytical frame for this paper). The three new dimensions are mainly concerned with three questions: Firstly, who is included or excluded from social citizenship and what are the boundaries of society? Secondly, if there are supranational/European Social Citizenship rights, duties and or entitlements within the structural context? Thirdly, how did and will the social citizenship develop and in what sense is this related to the integration of social policies?

The second part analyses and describes European Social Policies from the perspective of the framework. Citizenship and Social Policies did undergo a considerable change in the past decades. The structural context of the citizen’s experienced three pressures (Post-modern conditions, globalization and flexibilisation, and the downfall of the standardized family system) which led to an increase in European Social Policies. During that time the focus of social policies in the European Union was broadened from workers to all Europeans, and the European Citizenship was formally introduced in order to gain the support of the Europeans.

The third and final part links this rather theoretical debate to the social policy reality of the European Union. Who really is included and if we can speak of social citizenship rights, are among the questions that are answered. Furthermore the scope of European Social Policies is analysed. In the end possible pathways for further integration in the social policy field are described.

Preliminary Remarks – a placement of relevance

The European Integration has gained speed especially since the Single European Act in 1986 and the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 – and not only with regard to the economic focus of the Union. “What the pooling of national sovereignty is leading towards remains highly uncertain, this is especially true in the area of social policy” (Leibfried and Pierson, 1994: 15). But still academics and politicians agree that a further political and economic integration would need to have a social dimension. How the EU will develop in the future is a question that cannot and shall not be answered in this paper, as it would not just be beyond the scope, but also just is not a question that – at the present stage - can be answered by anyone.

Leibfried and Pierson argue that the crucial dimension of further European Integration is a paradigm shift from negative towards positive integration. Instead of just trying to remove obstacles for the common market (negative) as the main goal of social policies, the focus should shift towards a “joint, constructive action, [aimed] at the creation of a state with substantial capacities to modify the market redistribution of life chances” (Leibfried and Pierson, 1994: 19). For this positive integration it would no longer be possible to keep attached to the regulatory type of a social policy state, as the EU is at the moment. European Social Policies must then move beyond providing a framework for the actions of the member states. This would include and require an own system of entitlements. “Then Europe would not just recognise ‘market citizens’ (Civil rights), and eventually political citizens, but would introduce the status of rights vis-à-vis European government, including social citizenship” (Leibfried and Pierson, 1994: 20).

Within nation states citizenship “constitutes the basic national cultural link to the welfare state, so it may also be European Citizenship which provides the most promising avenue for a stronger political union” (Leibfried and Pierson, 1994: 21), which then might eventually include a European Welfare State.

Leibfried and Pierson (1994) and Kleinman (2002) mention the creation of a European Social Citizenship as one of the main drivers for a European Welfare State. They argue that there is a variety of pressures for this creation: firstly, that until now rights are only given to workers, and not to all citizens. Secondly, the link between Brussels and the Europeans is still weak, which is a problem for the legitimacy and also democracy in the EU. Thirdly, external and relating internal pressures, like the increasing stream of migrants might further the need to define the rights of the European citizens vis-à-vis people entering the Union. And finally, there are cultural pressures, such as inequality within the EU.

The debate above can be summarized in the following successive theses: 1. There are varieties of pressures to define and establish a European Social Citizenship. 2. A European Social Citizenship can be a pathway to further the connection of the citizens to the union. 3. This citizenship can be the base for a European Welfare State. This paper shall therefore – as in more details explained in the introduction - analyse firstly, in how far we can speak of a European Social Citizenship at the moment and secondly, if this concept really can fulfil the high expectations imposed on it. If a European Welfare State is desirable at all, is of non importance for these considerations. Also considerations about the welfare state – or the regimes identified by Esping Anderson (Esping-Anderson, 1990) - as such and how a possible European version of it might look like are left aside.

II. The Concept of Social Citizenship – a framework?

II.1. Historical Development

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Roche develops a model of three interlinked dimensions (Roche, 2000: 217) of citizenship, shown in Figure 2. The first dimension is the “citizen’s world”. This includes the nature, or individual preferences and repugnances, of the citizen and the community in which the citizen lives. This world is shaped by typical experiences, ideals and values. The world of the citizens is influenced by the second dimension, the socio-structural context surrounding the citizen that influences their ability for development. This includes the pressures and drivers that come from an external source, for example from the laws of the government or the economic and work sphere. This dimension underlies tremendous change as will be shown in part III. Both dimensions are shaped by the third dimension: the history of change. Past developments have an influence on the present state of the art, and on the actions a citizen or its community might take. This dimension can be linked to the historical development of Marshall’s different elements of citizenship presented above, although it has some fallbacks.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Roche’s dimensions can be transformed into a framework to analyse European Social Policies (Figure 3). Therefore three questions are linked to the different dimensions. Firstly, the citizen’s world: who is included or excluded from citizenship and what are the boundaries of society? Secondly, the structural context: Are there supranational/ European Social Citizenship rights, duties and or entitle-ments? Thirdly, the history of change: how did and will the social citizenship develop?

Sub-conclusion 2 – Adding the “Social” dimension

By this sub-chapter an amount of new analytical questions arise:

Who is included?

Are there supranational/European Social Citizenship rights, duties and or entitlements?

How did and will the social citizenship develop?

And also two theses:

Social Rights are about the redistribution of income!

Social Citizenship includes the rights and duties of citizenship concerned with citizen’s welfare, broadly understood to include work, income, education and health.


Excerpt out of 22 pages


From Social Citizenship towards a European Welfare State - A vague concept as a driving force?
University of Twente  (School of Management and Governance)
European Social Policies
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ISBN (eBook)
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520 KB
This paper elaborates on the question if a European Welfare State (EWS) might emerge out of the still vague concept of European Citizenship. It is concluded that we still cannot really speak of a European version of social citizenship. Thus, it will not lead to a EWS that also is not really needed. (Arbeit mit einfachem Zeilenabstand)
From, Social, Citizenship, European, Welfare, State, European, Social, Policies
Quote paper
Hannah Cosse (Author), 2006, From Social Citizenship towards a European Welfare State - A vague concept as a driving force?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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