Narrating Social Europe: the Search for progress in the ‘Age of Delors’

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details No.185, January 2017 (23.01.17)
Publication Date 23/01/2017
Content Type

To what extent has the European Union rejected, adapted, or contained the neoliberal shift occurred after the 'shock of the global' of the 1970s? Building on the historiographical debate on the European social model, Alessandra Bitumi, Associate researcher at the Center for Research on the English-speaking World (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3) and first winner of the Jacques Delors Scholarship, discusses the significance of the Delors Commission within the framework of the Atlantic Community in the 1980s, addressing four main questions:

- how did Jacques Delors conceptualise the crisis of the model of the postwar mixed economy and how did he act on it as President of the Commission?
- why is it relevant to investigate Delors Commission and particularly its commitment to the European Social Model, with a transatlantic perspective?
- how and to what extent did the Delors Commission try to contain the neoliberal pressures of the 1980s?
- finally, what is left?

Alessandra Bitumi argues that the crucial significance of the European Social Model must be understood in this light: as the endeavor to forge consensus, build a sense of belonging, provide legitimacy to a political vision and its underneath discourse. The European Social Model resulted from a compromise between neoliberal pressures, the Social-democratic heritage and Christian social-thought.

If Jacques Delors failed to deliver on the promise of building a just Europe in absolute terms, this Policy Paper, presented at a seminar held in Brussels last December, highlights that he nonetheless succeeded in crafting an 'uplifting tale' for the old continent that mobilized idealism and transcended the material. His was a deliberate and conscious effort of identity (ie: EU) – building. As the intellectual debate of the early 2000s reveals, overtime, his 'moral narrative' has proved perhaps more pervasive than his political achievements.

Source Link
Subject Categories ,
Countries / Regions