Conference: ‘Social Europe and the Making of EMU: Contradiction in Terms or Missed Opportunities? (1957-1992)’

On 25-26 May, a group of scholars from across Europe studying the history of European social policy and Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) came together at the EUI’s Villa Salviati to explore the interrelations between Social Europe and EMU. In three panels and an engaging final round of discussion, the conference participants addressed issues such as:

  • To what extent was Social Europe part of the EMU project? And to what extent was one of the two fields of Community policy instrumentalised as means to pursue political aims in the other?
  • Would a more advanced Social Europe allow for a more functional EMU, and vice-versa?
  • What role did EMU play in different Community-level actors’ pursuit of advancing Social Europe, especially with a view on redistributive measures; and on a more intensive involvement of trade unions?
  • To what extent did different transnational networks (among them European parties, and the party groups in the European Parliament) simultaneously shape the evolution of EMU and Social Europe?

The conference focused on a period running from the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 until the decision to create an EMU and the extension of EU sociopolitical competences with the Treaty of Maastricht and the Social Policy Protocol of 1992. Through the different methodological approaches applied by the participants, and the different disciplinary backgrounds and historiographical traditions represented by the people in the room, the conference allowed for a rich, insightful and inspiring conversation on current trends and developments in this two-dimensional sub-field of European integration research, as well as on a range of research lacunae that remain to be filled.