The ESU debate hosted by EUVisions is now concluded and the final report is available here and on the EUVISIONS website.
In 2013, Frank Vandenbroucke coined the notion of a European Social Union (ESU) in order to clarify our thinking about the so-called social dimension of the EU. This new expression contains three implicit messages. First, it invites us to propose a clear-cut institutional concept, in contrast to the elusive notion of ‘a Social Europe’. Second, it indicates that we should go beyond the conventional call for ‘a social dimension’ to the EU, as if today’s EU has no social dimension whatsoever. Third, it explicitly suggests that what is needed is not a European Welfare State, but, precisely, a Union founded on two principles. On the one hand, national welfare states should remain responsible for organizing interpersonal redistribution among their citizens; on the other, they should take up the commitment of sustaining forms of tangible solidarity among themselves as collective entities.
The adoption of a European Pillar of Social Rights in November 2017 and the elections for a new European Parliament, in May 2019, constitute a unique opportunity to relaunch and enrich the ESU debate.