POLARIS: Law and Policies for Social Rights Protection
“The socio-economic divide has been on the rise in Europe over the past decades, and has intensified since the onset of the global financial crisis. High and rising inequality harms our societies in many respects, not least in terms of economic growth. It can hamper social cohesion, results in lost opportunities for many, and can even result in worse health outcomes”. (OECD, 2017).
The future of the EU social dimension is one of the most challenging issues the European Union and its Member States are facing today: on one side, the economic crisis has deeply affected social rights protection and in many countries even eroded the basis of the so called Welfare State; on the other side, the migration crisis poses challenges in terms of access to social rights and could even question’the sustainability of traditional welfare systems; last but not least, the rule of law crisis experienced by some EU states (Hungary and Poland) and the rise of populist parties may affect the future of the social dimension of the EU as well.
Indeed, there is a red line that connects the present and the future of social rights protection and the many crises the EU is facing.
The Jean Monnet Module on “Law and Policies for social rights protection in Europe” (POLARIS) aims to follow this red line, analysing in depth the status of social rights protection in Europe and the future of the EU social model, through an interdisciplinary perspective. The legal analysis of the development of the EU social acquis and of the status of social rights in the EU will be complented by a socio-political analysis on the crisis of the Welfare State in Europe and the emergence of the “second welfare” paradigm. This multidisciplinary perspective is crucial given given that social rights are inherently connectedwith political choices and strictly depending on the availability of financial resources. The interconnection between policies and rights is even more evident in case of emergencies, as the economic and migratory ones, where the boundaries between law and politics definitively blur.