A Social Compact for a Social Union: A Political and Legal Window of Opportunity?

Gilles Pittoors, Steven Van Hecke, Johan Lievens

The social crisis within the euro zone has not only showed the need for more integration in social areas, if not per se than to consolidate the EMU and the way our welfare states within the EU have been developed and proceed to be relatively successful. It has also triggered new thinking about how such a Social Union might look like. In this article we explore from both a political and a legal point of view how to overcome the problem that in the social area not all member states are willing to take further steps to strengthen the integration process of the European Union. We particularly examine whether the Fiscal Compact can serve as model for the challenge of differentiated integration. The central question is therefore whether such a model - developed outside the existing political and legal framework - is applicable to the social area, or, in other words, whether a Social Compact is possible, feasible and desirable and under what circumstances.

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