Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Conference registration

Registration for this conference is now open. Early registration fees are presently fixed at £40.00. There will also be a limited number of places for student registrations at £5.00, for which it is advisable to register early. 

Call for papers

The European Union's economic and social model – still viable?

CELLS is pleased to invite papers for and participation in the conference 'The European Union’s economic and social model – still viable?'

This conference seeks to expand the debates relating to tensions between economic and social integration within the EU, to new governance styles in the EU and  the global impact of the EU economic and social model, as well as the impact of the global crisis upon this model.

The EU started out as a project to develop economic integration for the purpose of enhancing social cohesion within the societies of the then Member States, as well as the emerging Common Market.

The initial model of 'embedded liberalism' has been criticised widely for gradually dismantling the capacity of nation states and national economies to embed increasingly liberalised transnational markets.

From the 1990s, maintains the critique, the politics of judicial liberalisation of markets, accompanied with much less developed politics of regulating markets at EU level or providing social policy via new forms of governance, has led to a process of de-coupling between economic and social integration.

On the other hand, the EU has, since the 1990s, enhanced and intensified its social policy, albeit not through legally binding mechanisms, but rather through establishing processes of mutual learning under so-called new governance styles. This process has accompanied the intensifying economic integration initiated by the launch of a common currency with the ambition to cover the whole of the Union  -- with the exception of three Member States having opted out of this project for the time being.

The fragile relation between one of the most successful processes of regional economic integration globally on the one hand and the unique attempt of maintaining a specific European social model on the other hand has recently been put under pressure by the global economic crisis.

The economic turbulence following, in particular, the overrating of property in some Member States was reflected in banking and currency crises in many national systems and, of course, also in the common currency.

While these events initially led to a revival of Keynesian politics, a new European austerity pact now looms on the horizon. At the same time, the development of the EU’s legal and political frame has achieved a new stage with the Treaty of Lisbon, which enhances holistic values and the overall goal to achieve social inclusion without changing the layout of the EU economic constitution to any decisive degree.

We invite papers expanding the debates on tensions between economic and social integration within the EU and possible measures to alleviate these tensions by use of different governance styles by reference to the EU’s global impact.

Papers should relate to one of three discussion streams.

The stream ‘tensions between the economic and the social in the EU’s socio-economic model’ highlights debates that have focused on internal affairs with a view to the question over how far the EU can serve as a global model.

The stream ‘how to shape the EU’s economic and social model’ allows papers that maintain an inner EU focus, as well as comparative focus, or papers that go beyond the EU in other ways. The main aim in this stream is to consider the role of rights and adjudication in comparison with other forms of governance, which are often referred to as ‘new governance’.

The third stream invites papers that critically reflect on the viability of the EU’s economic and social model in times of global crisis, both with relation to the model character of Europe and with relation to its impact on global economic development.


The call for papers is now closed. We might, however, still be able to accommodate the odd paper, in particular in panel 2 'The EU's economic and social model in a changing global landscape' (stream 3 in the call). Proposals for such papers (max. 500 words) can be directed to Andrea Gideon at a.k.gideon@leeds.ac.uk.

Download conference call for papers

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