Τετάρτη, 23 Ιανουαρίου 2008

The Swedish Parameter in the Europeanization Process

Του Αγιου

“A commonwealth of people becomes

a single entity, a body politic,

a Leviathan”

T. Hobbes

but, Leviathan was a notorious belligerent beast.


What is the cultural feature that clearly distinguishes Europe from Leviathan’s hideous aspect? What can civilize the soul of a beast? What may civilize the ‘beast’ of the European single market? Where, at last, can one meet the human face of the European Union?

There is a firm belief throughout the European population that all the questions above allow only an answer: social protection system and welfare state. However, there are different models and sub-models that look for an effective and admissible social policy. Furthermore, there are controversial political approaches on the governance’s method under conditions in which the most efficacious policies are not politically feasible, and the most politically feasible are not efficacious (Leca and Papiny 1985).

Regardless of the political debate above, it seems to be common belief for the 500 million ‘European citizens’ that the integration of European market does not synchronize with the integration of social security and labour market. And, in order to estimate their future, they do not ask any longer whether the EU is united or not, but rather about the purpose of its unification (European Social Forum, Florence, 2003).

The welfare systems, in which most of the modern European States are structured, seem to be less able to reproduce themselves, than it was the case 15 years ago. The middle classes, which were the soul of these systems in various European countries, may drive themselves to despair. (3rd Global Social Forum, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2003 Resolution of Protest).

The ‘no’ of the popular majority on the question of the ‘European Constitution’ in the referendums in both France and The Netherlands (2005) and the increasing disenchantment the same period across the old as well as the new European Union’s member-societies may claim of the political leadership and of the political theory another approach, in order to meet the exigencies of the time. Paradoxically, most of the center-right and the center-left political leaderships in the Continent seem to be converged that the European-building needs a different, more or less common method of exercising social policy (Lisbon 2000, Thessalonica European Council 2003).

They appear undoubting that only, when all EU’s members acquire a common view of social systems and foremost ‘common language’ in order to define them, then may a pan- European social alternative be articulated, expressing the fundamental values that structure the European mental picture - the European image. Only, in this European field could freedom, democracy, equality, solidarity and openness in the form of social cohesion be harmonized. And, obviously, only in this axis could a pan-European welfare model be emerged. Hence, at first, political rhetoric seems to concentrate on the European peoples’ assertions. However, the crucial test of each individual policy takes place just into praxis- on the micro level of every-day life.

The aim of this essay is to explore the interaction between the Europeanization in the social field, and the Swedish welfare model in the European Union’s environment. In other words, how the Swedish model embodies the European Social Model. Are there, indeed, any Swedish parameters involved in the Europeanization process? And how this very same process may lead astray the famous Scandinavian Model?

Since the ‘Europeanization’ is a fashionable, but at the same time more or less contested concept, we jump at the chance to clarify that, for the needs of this paper Europeanization is viewed as the penetration of European level institutions and methods into national and sub-national systems of governance, and vice versa.

Both the Europeanization process and Swedish welfare model are theorized – by this paper –primarily as politico-ideological concepts, which, although, operating on a macro level, are rewarded on the micro level of every-day life. Thus, although we try to examine, in short, their interrelation in the political as well as institutional level, pari-passu we consider, indirectly, their ideological dimension.

The guidelines of both methods of governance embody values and power relationships that shall be lightened. Indeed, we are not going to compare Europeanization process with Swedish model of governance, since the former –as we will see-is developed in a different scope with a discrete purview of the latter. Our analytical effort is, merely, going to slim down on the impact of each other.


Europeanization process – the cognitive dimension

The concept of Europeanization – in modern times - appeared in many studies since 1980’s, but it takes a wide-spread dimension after the1990’s, as a new ideological concept, in order to name the new European environment. The collapse of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and the end of the bipolar system that split Europe in two parts, generated a new methodological approach by explicating the European ‘reunification’. Then, Europeanization took the mental shape of democratization, as a democratic institutionalized state-form, in accordance with the paradigms of both market economy and democratic governance. Thus, the post-communist European countries personify the new reality, as Europeanization, in order to distinguish themselves from their previous phase, which was Sovietization. So, their democratic transition had as logical constant the Western European paradigm. In this new post-Cold War period in Europe, the Nordic model of governance offered a dynamic cultural and ideological benchmark towards democratization. The Swedish policy-making type was the most conclusive proof that principles such as compromise, cooperation and consensus could exist as reality and not only as political rhetoric. And, obviously, the Nordic countries in the frame of the New World Order constitute for 100 million people in post-communist Central-East Europe – and not only for them - the ideal balance between market and state. Or as Marquis Childs points out, in Scandinavia “the state, the consumer, and the producer have intervened to make capitalism ‘work’ in a reasonable way for the greatest good of the whole nation” (Marquis W. Childs 1936: 161)

The social democratic principle that state and economy must be separated, in order that economic growth and social welfare could be harmonized, was the motivated power in all aspects of the new national-state building across the‘re-unified’ Europe. As the welfare ideal pierced the darkness of the totalitarian regimes towards ‘pluralist’ democracies, in the ‘New European World’, the most population acknowledged the moral superiority of the, so called, Scandinavian Model ( according to this paper typological structure the adjectives Scandinavian, Swedish and Nordic modify the same perception). At the same time, the Swedish model offered an unprecedented choice to the new political parties to legitimate their social policy and, of course their social power, by using the Swedish paradigm in order to draw votes from the working classes.

Obviously, for many of them Girvetz’s conclusion that “the welfare state is the institutional outcome of the assumption by a society of legal and therefore formal and explicit responsibility for the basic well-being of all its members”(Girvetz 1968: 512), was, and still is, just ‘fine print’.

However, most times political texts, political theory and political praxis are like ‘extrinsic data’. Nevertheless, despite the political rhetoric, the political outcome on the field of social policy in the post-communist Europe – and in a large extent in the old EU’s members as well – seems to follow other directions towards rather a ‘Bismarckian’ tradition, in which the social protection system is based in the form of contributions ( Eurostat, 2005). Obviously, the principles of globalization prevail, so far, on the political praxis and undermine the Europeanization process, as a more social focused approach of development.

The Scandinavian, ”Beveridgian’, social system, in which, it is enough to be a resident in order to claim social benefits, could not fit to the ideological concept of the IMF or that of the World Bank , which pressure for targeted, privatized and residualized social policy(EBRD, 1999). And, as it is, nowadays, the reality, the global economic actors are those whom make the economic deal in the Continent and ‘force’ its social dimension. Nevertheless, perhaps, now, the analytical view of B. Deacon, who notices: This ideological zeal of the (World) Bank may be waning in the face of the continued social costs in the region and the impact that this has in turn had upon stability, and as a result of the import into the Bank of a more European thinking (B. Deacon, 2000: 159), shall be more pronounced.

In this perspective, the Scandinavian Model with the deeply rooted social dimension in the policy-making process has a lot to contribute towards a new social approach of the development. Moreover, Europeanization, as a modernization process does not coincident anywise with globalization, as the former is applied in a far more extant framework of policies than the latter and it is differentiating – by definition - in the humanitarian approach. Thus, Europeanization, as a vivid ideological concept, shall be dibbed into social democratic concept of the welfare state, in order to emerge as a dynamic factor by safeguarding the democratic ideals within the EU.

The principal bases of the Swedish social model can provide ‘Europeanization’ with the legitimacy and the ‘know-how’ of a long lasting ‘social market economy’, and according to Eatwell “the case for a social market economy goes beyond providing

a safety net for those who are weak or ill. A well-structured policy for social cohesion and civic engagement in fact enhances economic growth and overall development” (Eatwell et al., 1997).

We argue, by no means, that the Nordic Model of welfare state constitutes a unique method of social cohesion. Actually, the social cohesion has not only been characterized by socio-economic parameters, but by cultural as well. We could, also, not ignore the catalytic function of globalization in the process of forming new idealistic trajectories wherever in Europe, either in the socio-economic level or in the political and administrative one.

For instance, the risks involved in retaining a dependency on nuclear power, in Sweden, stood against the risk of abandoning adjustment to a global economic system; or, more illustratively, the comic-political-operetta, in German, which led to the Grand Coalition of SCU/CDU and SPD, ‘by right of fatherland’s high-interests in the global chess-board’ ( G. Schröder, 2005).

However, we argue that the inquiry-creating process of global capitalism and the involved social pressures lead either to a social amplification of the provision system, based on the principles of the ‘reliable tool’ of the Swedish welfare state – despite of the state-revenues’ difficulties - or to a post-modern cleavage, that might bring about a new revolution on the European scene.

Europeanization – institutional dimension

The ideological concept of Europeanization took a more ‘institutional’ form across the previous decade, so that, nowadays, we address it as more or less organizational hypothesis with a remarkable theoretical battery of arguments.

Even though, this theoretical way, prevailing over ‘pure institutionalism’, focuses only on both law and constitutional structure, we can not ignore its contribution to explaining the transformations currently taking place on the European level.

But, at the same time, we have to stress the need of a less teleological approach since, as J.P. Olsen underlines “there is no single grand theory of ‘Europeanization to help us understand how institutions co-evolve through process of mutual adaptation. Nor is there a single set of simplifying assumptions about change, institutions, and actors that will capture the complexity of European transformations” (Johan P. Olsen, 2003: 347).

Thus, we are going to approach the Swedish way within EU as a depended variable in the implicit function of the EU’s institutional evolution.

Sweden and Finland joined European Union the same time, in 1995, and together with Denmark, which antedates some 22 years, today constitute the, so called, ‘Nordic block’ within the European institutions.

There are many theoretical approaches that seek to interpret the timing of the Swedish accession into the EU, after 30 years full of discussions, analysis and political debates across the whole spectrum of the Swedish political parties (D.Arter, 1999: 98-117).

For the specific needs of our essay it is, however, important to keep as ‘research element’ that the Social Democratic approach in regard to the European Community’s membership had been changed, since the disintegration of the Warsaw-Pact and the annulment of the bi-polar security system, in praxis. The neutrality or, in other words, non-alignment political position of the widely left and center-left political will was not any longer able to compete with the pro-accession stance of the Swedish Liberal and Moderate parties ( Anders Widfeldt, 1996: 101-103). Furthermore, when the Swedish government on 26 October 1990 announced its intention to submit an application for full membership in EC/EU, the country had to face a double reality: the New Order in the global environment and an economic recession on the domestic level. Truly, the geo-strategic position of Sweden had changed and so had its geo-political one, and what’s more, the Baltic states leaded to design their national trajectory within the EU, and Finland had chosen to follow the same path as well. Hence, the Baltic Sea Region , since 1990’s, has been moving step-by-step to accept the whole EU-building as its own ‘living space’, and has, analogically, grown away from more ‘ambitious’ orientations for a kind of ‘commonwealth’ including all its nations. (M. Lagerspetz, 2003: 55-59).

By inference, Sweden’s membership was a simplex-situation, particularly after the enactment of the Single European Market and the establishment of the EU (1-11-1993) as result of the Treaty of the European Union. After that a new reality emerged in Europe; EU-members came near at hand, while non-member-states strayed away.

However, the most ‘attractive’ initiative of the European community for the Nordic states, with the mature welfare society, was the establishment of the European Social Dimension. The idea that the economic liberalization could be balanced by a social policy, ensuring a safety net for European workers was like a beeswing, at least, 80 years old for the Nordic populations having the experience of the Social Democratic Model. So, Sweden enters European politics the most crucial period, in which a social dumping was visible. The side-effects of the Single Market tended to enhance competitiveness in order to gain better places in the market, lowing, in parallel, the social standards whenever in Europe - and in Sweden as well (E.S Einhorn, 2002: 281-284).

The neo-liberal approach gained ground step-by-step among the EC’s decision-makers, although, there were some initiatives – Social Action Program, Single Market White Paper, and Fundamental Social Rights for Workers – which aimed to offer rather a consolation to the European societies, than a solution to less and less welfare provisions. Hence, the, so called, Social Character of the EC/EU, was introduced as a more or less legitimized factor toward the European market integration. Commission’s approach is tell-tale: Social consensus is an essential factor in maintaining sustained economic growth (Commission of the EC’s 1989a). Furthermore, the philo-social initiatives mentioned above were tugged of a number of directives relating to employee consultation and participation as well as part-time work and temporary work. No marvel then if policy-making on the social EU’s level tries to balance in the employers-employees axis (Commission 1989e).

It is worth noticing that the, so called, Social Partners, until recently, were closely defined by Commission, bounded into framework of production and market.

This approach connotes the principal difference, by definition, between Beveridgian tradition in a welfare state, and a mixture of Bismarckian-liberal; between the Swedish welfare system – as we have already defined it – and Commission’s non-explicit orientations. At all events, it seems like ‘stuck-in-the-mud’ if one realized that a society consist only from employers and employees as well as pensioners. Here, there is always an incalculable risk of empathy between society and market.

Concluding, Swedish welfare concept had, from the very beginning, to combat with the ideological approach of globalization in the ‘European-size’. In other words, the Swedish problem how to maintain high level of social standards met face-to-face the question how the socio-economic factor could be managed in order the Union could be able to adapt to the changing nature of international production (Debra Johnson, 1996: 192-195).

Both questions above incorporate the ideological and political dimension of Europeanization as a variable of institutional change or transformation of some sort, so that, their different, in kind, political approach could be satisfied (March and Olsen 1995).

Hence, Europeanization for Sweden could be seen as a reformation’s factor that tends to reinforce state and civil society, by changing their institutional and non-institutional structure, in order to readjust to the new international environment, without destroying Sweden’s social structure, which is based in its welfare system.

Thus, the pressures of the globalization could be damping of an effective Europeanization’s amortization. This is to say, Swedish policy-making in the domestic social field with the EU’s supporting in the scope of both: regional-policies and social funds.

However, Europeanization is not only a result of rule following, or standard operating

mechanism of argumentation and persuasion; not only a developed procedure aiming to solve problems as well as a carrier of conflict resolution or diffusion but also a hauler of socialization (Johan P.Olsen 2003: 335).

The most useful dimension of Europeanization is its learning process, not only shortly as competitive selection, but also, and foremost, as ‘collective consciousness of welfare’ throughout the new European-building. This is how every individual member-state can improve its social conditions, learning from its partner’s experience. Furthermore, how civil society and non- institutionalized social-patterns may, productively, involve in the EU’s decision-making procedure.

In other words, Europeanization is not only a political instrument that is used by the Union’s institution in order to muscle in their political and ideological orientations and, ultimately, their dominance over the whole Continent’s population, on behalf of a new pan-European elite. It is a common field of practical and potential deploy of all the possible kinds of power. And, as it is argued, the structure of knowledge and the means that it may be functioned determine the position and the potential of each actor on the battle-field or on the negotiation-table (see Cybernetic theories and the theory of Games-by John Nash).

Sweden is armed with a deep background of knowledge relating with administrative and legitimated as well as socio-organizational management of welfare state.

On the other hand the country possesses, in a considerable degree, a political culture that effectively reproduces consensus and legitimacy. So, “in posing demands within the EU – from preferences for equality and social justice to mediating conflict – to working for more stringent environmental standards, to techno-sociological innovations the Scandinavian experience brings with it powerful legacies which Europe is now required to engage collectively”(Ch. Ingebritsen, 2002: 264).

Thus, although, Sweden is a country with, comparably, small amount of population, its mature post-modern social-set blended into domestic-economic-environment of quite high productivity and ‘relatively peaceful’ labor-market relations, equips Swedish leadership and civil society with a large extent of negotiation-power to deal with welfare issues as well as matters of quality of life with better ifs and ands within the EU’s institutions.


The Swedish model in the re-unified Europe

So far, we persist using the term model in regard to the Swedish welfare state, although it is self-evident that already in the 1980’s this pattern of governance faced numerous problems, trying to find out a new balance between free-market and social protection-strategy. Truly, the principal autonomy that shall be characterized in each ‘model’ was impaired in the late of 1980’s in Sweden, basically on account of the deregulation in the monetary markets, and the strict limits of national exchange-rate policies, since the Swedish currency linked to the EC-currency-system.

All in all, we do not argue that the Swedish model is a totally standardized system, or/and more or less a global independent variable. It is a socio-political phenomenon that gained its autonomy in the course of time. So, the long run of a unique system of governance determines its developmental principles, which are both cultural producer and cultural trends. Thus, analogically, the Swedish model shall be examined as a more or less autonomous dimension in the international socio-political scene, since it is able, authentically, to reproduce political culture and social relationships in a continuously changing economic environment.

Briefly, the main socio-economic features of this model by its peak can be summarized: α) full employment, the unemployment rate varying between 1.5-2.5 percent, β) relatively low inflation rate – around 3 percent, γ) a high degree of cyclical stability, δ) no balance of payment troubles, ε) a rapid rise of the public sector, στ) no visible structural balances, ζ) a satisfactory rate of growth of total output – about 4 percent. ( Erik Lundberg, 1985: 3 )

These achievements were combined with rapid progress in labor market policies, social reforms and income distribution.

As Sweden enters the EU (1995) all the above mentioned socio-economic features are worse, but “the fundamental targets contained in the conception of the Swedish Welfare State are being preserved together with the main structure of the social insurance system” ( Erik Lundberg, 1998: 34 ).

Beyond all the worse economic indicators there were, also, certain qualitative changes:“The central organizations have been weakened by internal discord and increasing conflict among themselves; furthermore, the main thrust of the wage negotiations has been transferred to the local level. The growing internationalization of enterprises is likely to create a greater diversity of interests on the employers’ side and reinforce the decentralization tendency…This would, in turn, weaken the institutional and political foundation of the Scandinavian model” (Pekka Kosonen, 1993: 65, 66).

There has been a grate debate among political scientists as well as politicians all around the world trying to explore the perspective of the Swedish model. Unfortunately, there is no single theory able to address the development of a socio- political phenomenon that has been influencing adversely of many foreign factors, which has been interlacing with a great amount of formal and informal domestic actors in both public and private sectors.

Furthermore, some empirical observations in Sweden have shown that “it is a gap between what social services are available on paper and what is accessible in reality that has eroded the faith of many people in the good will of the representatives of society” ( Martin Peterson, 1999: 43 ).

Actually, Sweden, without roll of drums developed, step-by-step, a bimorphemic strategy in order to maintain the high level of social and environmental standards and to manage its expensive welfare state. According to this strategy it was avowed that there is no domestic reform-policy without European dimension and no European policy without an impact on the domestic reformations. Obviously, this concept requires a more or less non-selfish approach in order to be more effective. If Leif Lewin’s conclusion that the Nordic homo-politicus is motivated by public interests and not by self interests is very close to reality, then the strategy above seems to have a positive perspective. (L. Lewin, 1991). On the contrary, if this empirical evidence, by considering data about voters, politicians and bureaucrats in Sweden, were more or less rhetoric, reflecting a dualistic profile of both public servants end politicians, then the essential reforms could not be effective. In this sense, one has to remember that “to be a public interest it is certainly not enough simply to claim it to be such” (Jan-Erik Lane, 1993: 323). At all events, the die is cast, since 1994 in Sweden, and it takes still up a wager, whether or not the reformed welfare institutions can reclaim the harmony between them and the private interests.

Hence, the social democratic approach preconditions a long term reformations primarily aiming not to destroy the Swedish social-web, and secondly to protect the economy of social-agitation. The character of these changes in the wide welfare system is determined by the political economy; however the timing, the array and the means are dogged, in a considerable degree, by the EU.

The question that now arises is how the main features of the Swedish model involve in the EU’s policy-making and hereupon how they weigh as feed-back on its domestic changes’ profile.

According to Ann-Cathrine Jungar’s typology, there are, generally, three basic properties defining the Swedish model (Nordic model, according to hers more theoretical-correct terminology), in relation to EU’s institutional structure.

“Firstly, both inside as well as outside, the Nordic model is primarily associated with a well developed welfare state with the aim to guarantee the individual security at different stages of life…Secondly, the Nordic model is associated with a particular form of decision-making: popular participation in the decision-making process through various institutional solutions has been sought, and the aim has often been to reach a high degree of political consensus and wide political agreement… Thirdly, whereas Norway and Denmark have been and still are members of NATO. Finland to a large extent has acknowledged that the present EU cooperation in foreign and security policies in practice is not consistent with a neutral status. Sweden has until very recently clung to its dogma of neutrality” (Ann-Cathrine Jungar, 2002: 405-407).

These more or less common features that Nordic European Union Countries share in the framework of the new Europe should not be seen sporadically. They have got a systemic relationship and structural interaction, not only one to another, but as a whole with the decision-making system, in which the Nordic cooperation was and still is structured. According to this pattern of cooperation each individual country does not lose its determined character in the decision-making process.

This type of governance shares the same axiomatic coherence with the new governance in the EU. And it is worth noting that “one key characteristic of new governance is that it takes place in networks, where relations between different actors are important” (Kohler-Koch, 1999). “Policy making in the EU can, therefore, perhaps been best understood as an integrated system of multi-level negotiations and bargaining” (Grande, 1996). And as Annica Kroncell notes “small states have been partially empowered by this new governance system and have gained influence particularly as norm setters” and she consider four different aspects of Sweden’s influence on EU environmental policy: 1) reputation and expectation on behavior, 2) expertise and knowledge as an important resource in the environmental policy process, 3) the importance of national policies as example of success, and 4) successful coordination of national interest (Annica Kroncell, 2002) – ( This paper for theoretical and practical reasons faces environmental policies and welfare policies in the same policy-making perspective, both in domestic and EU’s level, because of their importance in the, so called, Quality of Life framework, also, since their categorization in the EU’s decision-making process ).

European Social Model and the Open Method of Coordination

The European Social Model is an abstract definition of a common set of values which are on the basis of the EU. These values – very conterminous with the ones structuring the Swedish model - are freedom, democracy, equality, solidarity and openness and have inspired the social systems of all the EU-Member States. While these systems differ from one another in their practical design, they have common features and reflect – in a different degree - those values. They all involve government intervention in order –at least in principle -to reduce poverty and social exclusion, anticipating distribution of income, providing social insurance and promoting equality of opportunity (Social Protection Committee, 2004).Strictly speaking, there is no ‘Model’ at all in the framework of European Social Policy and even not a single ‘Policy’. If we would like to approach the reality, without any help of political rhetoric, it seems better to speak about a frame of European principles towards a Social Model, and instead of ‘Policy’ it is more precise to put it down in the plural form ‘policies’. The weaknesses of the miscellaneous systems of social policy among the EU’s Member States are quite clear: low growth and low employment in many countries, with the social systems unable to cope with the modern society, or better saying, unable to tackle the new social challenges: liberal economy and globalisation and on the other hand social security in a welfare state.

The antiphasis (contradiction in terms) can be observed in the political praxis and rhetoric of the European officials, as the wallah Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, who proudly said: “Let me first look at the challenge of globalisation. It is evident that Europe is facing fierce competition, not only from the US and other industrialised countries, but also from low-cost economies like China and India. But there is no reason to think that the overall impact of globalisation on the European economy will be negative. On the contrary, globalisation should be regarded as an opportunity, not a threat. However, in order to do so we need to be able to foster economic and social reforms aimed at greater economic flexibility and more adjustment capacity, while achieving better social protection” (J. Almunia, 2005).

First, the Commissioner, by giving voice to the conservative European political current, seems to be confused about the term ‘globalization’. Obviously, he muddles up the politico-economic impact of globalization with the ‘trade competition’. Second, he accepts, without reserve, that globalization is an opportunity for the EU, that is to say, ‘Europeanization’ is at least a sub-form of globalization, or ersatz material of it, and not a clear socio-economic alternative for the Europeans and not only for them. And last but not least, he suggests using the globalisation tools, such as ‘economic flexibility’, ‘market adjustment’ etc, spin a cocoon of social protection. Or, in other words, he seems to float the idea by using neo-liberal management tools to build a socio-democratic welfare state. Thus, if we used the Chantal Mouffe’s terminology, we could define it as the new ‘European Democratic Paradox’. (Ch. Mouffe, 2004: 67-86).

Hence, the political willing, as it is expressed by the European Commission, comes to confute the arguments of some noted political scientists, such as S.Welby, who characteristically notices: “the EU is a polity which has responded aggressively to the perceived threat of globalisation. It is no passive victim in the manner often postulated as a role for nation-states within globalization theory. During this process the strength of this policy has crown considerably, becoming a fully fledged supra-state, developing new policy capabilities, sometimes at the expense of the sovereignty and capacity for action of its member states.” However, the Brussels’ environment - as we saw above – seems to welcome globalisation, assuming that its conceptual approach on the policy-making fits better in with their federal plans.

So far, a great deal of the European population seems to agree with those who argue that the aim of an integrated social Europe was only a lost dream, and that nowadays there is no historical causality that creates the conditions for building national welfare states as a result of the competitive interaction between labour and capital. Now, in a globalized environment with an increasingly mobile capital and an unprecedented industry and service technology as well as all the more weakening labour power, there is no force for a social policy. So, the pessimist social scientists conclude: The battle for social Europe has been fought and lost ( Gillian Pascal and Nick Manning).

However, non-teleologically thinking, we cannot agree with both previous points of view. Both conclusions seem like political predictions rather than ‘conditional approaches’, this is to say, how different conditions shape up in different environments among the same variants. Both have adopted a linear causality to interpret the socio-political reality. Both are employing political variants in the right way, but unfortunately they are seeking out a cause-nexus relation between economical criteria (quantitative) and social factors (qualitative).Obviously, there is a clear case of economism in both hypotheses, as a theory of economic determinism. Both drive us either to a socio-political paradox – the former, or to a societal deadlock- the latter. But, as we continue to look forward to democracy as a politico-cultural process without dead end, we have to explore all the possibilities towards developing a new (real) Pan-European Welfare Model.

However, since the EU through the Lisbon Council has been providing a platform for debate on the European ‘social model’, we can only realize a frame of principles (such as, all inhabitants are covered by social security and nobody is abandoned) that could be the motivating forces towards a welfare society and not some piles on which the platform is fastened. Obviously, the economic model prevails, and all European decisions makers try to persuade the European citizens that there is no economic transformation without social-model transition and the whole concept is covered under the title ‘modernization’ (Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner, 2005).

But, we shall always have in mind that it is only a political direction and not a ‘natural socio-economic causality’. In fact, the coordination of social inclusion policies in the European Union has two poles or better saying two actors. First, the European States producing National Action Plans ( NAPs ), and second, the European-level institutions being responsible for the Joint Reports. Both use as dependent variables a number of indicators (such as rates of social exclusion and poverty, expenditure levels or numbers receiving benefits) in order to compare the performance of the EU-members. The whole approach is covered under the idea of ‘policy learning’, as a process aiming at contributing to a pattern of similar reforms across the welfare European States. The central part of this process as well as the essential political tool of the Commission is the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), (M. Trubek and J.Moster, 2003).

It is argued that the OMC-structured learning process may constitute a European policy frame, which could create convergence at the level of beliefs on what the ‘European Social Model’ should be. (C. Radaelli, 2003: 54). Furthermore, Begg and Berghmann suggest that the OMC is both normative and cognitive tool, creating a common dynamic reform across Europe (I. Begg and J. Berghmann, 2002: 192).

Thus, in all possible cases, either if we accepted OMC as a new mode of governance in the EU framework, or only as a term in relation with the social management technique that the Lisbon European Council (2000) adopted, we could not simply baptise a comparative ‘Method’ as ‘Model’, even if the latter is imbued with additional meaning about the relationship between the European level and national politics.

It is true, that the OMC - as a European paradigm of governance - has developed to regulate the social standards throughout the EU, particularly, since its latest enlargement. It is also true, that this type of governance has been developed to bridge the gap between the importance of common social standard among the European States and the absence of agreement on binding standards, in particular costly ones (Council Conclusions on Structural Indicators, 2003). But, there is no doubt that the OMC is more a product of the ‘old’ European States compromise - facing the lack of an integrated EU’s social model – than a specific system of social cohesion’s composition, looking about the peculiarities of individual member states.

Epilogue

Let us, first, summarize the main ‘humdingers’ of this essay. There is not a single Social Model in the European Union. The Swedish model that emphasizes both on social and environmental protection, still constitutes an ideal for the majority of the European population. This model embodies, indirectly, the Europeanization process in both institutional and non-institutional socio-economic levels. The new –governance as a multi-level governance, answers the dilemma of intergovernmental or supranational governance, promoting the dispersion of authoritative decision-making across multiple territorial levels as well as developing a learning process in policy-making across various political and social actors throughout the Union’s structure.

The Open Method of Coordination as a new-governance method seems to fit the Europeanization process better and, in particular, the Europeanization as the policy-making style in the wider-socio-environmental sphere. Furthermore, the Swedish model is obsessed by principles and knowledge that can improve this type of governance, adding more social factors in the ‘political game’, by using its home- experience of building multi-level decision-nets. However, the EU-institutions appear, less able to impose ‘harmonization’ between social policies among the EU-members, as formal regulation is explicitly ruled out under the OMC. That is, by no means, a ‘menacing tsunami’ for the EU. Instead, it could be seen as a more or less democratic dimension of Europe.

In this open framework the Swedish parameter can offer a lot towards an Europeanization process aiming at arming the local decision-makers with valuable knowledge and experience in order to build up a stable welfare system. Obviously, we argue that OMC is only a start point towards this direction, and, furthermore we do not agree that this type of governance is only a comparative method, or in other words‘learning by numbers’. We theorize it, rather, as ‘learning by cultures’ and, in this surface Sweden has a lot to offer and pari-passu a lot to learn.

If one interpreted Europeanization just as a political mechanism or/and as an ideological instrument that is cooked up by the new pan-European elite with the assistance of the EU’s bureaucracy, aiming to conduct the futurity in the Old Continent, then she/he might make a ‘historic gaffe’. Europeanization could be approached as a new democratic theory in order to bring out the political power’s control over social space, and to develop pro-rata a new theoretical framework of policy-making - a new democratic model of governance – not only within the EU, but in a pan-European environment, as well. The key phrase of this theoretical approach could be ‘conditions of life’, instead of ‘cultures’, ‘institutions’, ‘interest groups’ or even ‘civil society’. The out of sight question could be articulated: how individuals as European citizens can take up the struggle for collective control over social space.

All in all, there is not a European re-unification without a massive, widely-accepted theory throughout the European population. The Swedish Social Democratic tradition and governance, which can, effectively, reproduce consensus on the social surface, has hard to battle not only in the frame of policy-making, but foremost in the ideological and the theoretical pan-European arena. If Social Democrats with their social-allies lay down arms and/or ignored the new internal-European tendencies, offering their moral, universal and progressive dimension, as a post-modern present to the conservative European powers, then it would be like that they offered welfare- state as a free-gift to Leviathan - the Europeanization process like ‘gift as pledge of friendship’ to globalization.


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