European Citizenship and Social Rights in Times of Crisis

WP-LPF 2/13

Centro Einaudi
Articolo completo/Full text


The paper explores the limits and potentials of European citizenship as a trans-national form of social integration, taking as comparison Marshall's classical analysis of the historical development of social rights in the context of the national Welfare State. It is submitted that this potential is currently frustrated by the prevailing negative-integration dimension in which the interplay between Union citizenship and national systems of Welfare State takes place. This negative dimension pervades the entire case law of the Court of Justice on Union citizenship, even becoming dominant—after the famous Viking and Laval judgements—in the ways in which the judges in Luxembourg have built, and limited, what in Marshall's terms might be called the European collective dimension of 'industrial citizenship'. The new architecture of the economic and monetary governance of the Union, based as it is on an unprecedented effort towards a creeping constitutionalisation of neo-liberal politics of austerity and welfare retrenchment, is destined to strengthen the de-structuring pressures on the industrial-relations and social protection systems of the Member States. The conclusions sum-up the main critical arguments and make some suggestions for an alternative path for re-politicising the social question in Europe.