After the economic shock in 2009, the European Union (EU) changed its economic governance system considerably. The question is how social policies fare within this new system. Does stricter economic governance limit the sovereignty of states to deal with social risks? To answer this question, the article determines the nature of the EU’s stricter economic governance package and explains how the interconnection between coordination mechanisms brings employment and social policy areas within the range of strengthened economic coordination. The article combines an analysis of new regulations with a study of the actual interaction between the EU and seven member states in 2011. It concludes that stricter economic governance gives the EU options to also strengthen employment and social policy coordination. Yet, the policy response of seven member states shows that there is leeway still in reacting to new EU demands.
- EU governance, EU social policy, economic governance