Assist. Prof. Dimitris Tsarouhas, Jean Monnet Chair in the Department of International Relations, recently organized a Jean Monnet workshop on European social policy. The workshop took place on April 11, with Paul Copeland of Queen Mary, University of London, and Ay?e ?dil Aybars of Middle East Technical University as guest speakers.
The speakers’ presentations, which were followed by roundtable debates, took place during two sessions in the afternoon. Major themes of the workshop included key trends in European social policy, the current state of Turkish social policy and Euroscepticism from the perspective of the Union’s social policy as demonstrated in Europe 2020.
The presentations were lively, informal and critical of recent developments in the EU. Following brief historical background on European social policy and the distinct approaches of different member states, Dr. Copeland evaluated “Europe 2020” (the Lisbon social policy strategy, launched in 2010) from a political sociology approach **************** and a critical point of view. He gave as the main reasons for his skepticism historical developments, financial crisis, the construction of the target (Europe 2020) and the existence of 11 different definitions of poverty across the EU, all serving to undermine the real objective.
In her presentation, Prof. Aybars emphasized the dichotomy between the technical aspects of Turkey’s negotiations with the EU on social and employment policies, which have continued fairly smoothly over time, and the politics of the negotiations, which have suffered from a visible decline in trust between the Union and Turkey.