The Future of European Welfare: A New Social Contract?

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Pope Francis rightly denounces that the current greedy model not only produces plastic waste but also human waste.

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Putting the economy on a sustainable basis will only ever work if the fight against inequality is placed at the heart of the endeavour. Take climate change: we have already begun feeling its dire consequences — forest fires, floods, droughts and storms incur huge societal costs — and hit the poorest hardest. Policies curbing climate change come with long-term benefits, also in the form of new growth and jobs, but its short term costs are a heavy burden for poorer people and places.

Better off people can afford to invest in solar panels and electric cars, thus benefiting from subventions and paying less for their energy consumption. While poorer people, who already spend a higher percentage of their salary to cover their energy costs, are burdened with additional fuel taxes. Instead of a silo mentality producing one-dimensional policy proposals, we need a holistic approach based on the understanding that environmental and social progress must go hand in hand. Because, Europe will only ever be carbon-neutral if it becomes socially more just — with quality public services that lift people up; with a cohesion policy that allows places that have fallen behind to catch up; with tax justice to mend the social fabric made brittle by tax fraudsters and speculators; and with a new social contract to manage digitisation, automatisation and demographic change.

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The Future of European Welfare - A New Social Contract? | Martin Rhodes | Palgrave Macmillan

We progressives want to turn Europe into an engine of change for a just transition. For me it is crystal clear: we will only support a new Commission if its programme aims at a fundamental policy change: a New Social Contract for Sustainability and Just Transition. Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Contact us. By Udo Bullmann Subscribe to our newsletters Subscribe.

The Future of European Welfare: A New Social Contract?

Social Protection and Social Reform. Negative and Positive Integration in the Political Economy. A Future. Global and Regional Agencies and the Making of Post. The Social Contract and the Problem of the Firm The ambition of the project is to rethink the social contract, so that it no longer relies on the relationship between citizens and the state but goes beyond this by taking into account the different dimensions of life today and the crucial issues citizens are facing: security concerns versus personal privacy, of the Welfare state and social rights, building an inclusive society that goes beyond divisions, care for the aging population, opportunities for the next generation, and preservation of natural environment.

It appears thus, of great importance to further enable discussions with academics and practitioners in order to bring a critical and well-informed opinion to a wider audience. Partner of the European Commission in defining and implementing European cultural policy, EUNIC has turned into a global network with 36 members and more than clusters. EUNIC Brussels, the cluster made up of the European cultural institutes based in Brussels, has developed annual discussions to reflect on the challenges Europe is facing nowadays.


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With the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, laws were progressively implemented to protect the labour class. Two centuries later, it is reasonable to wonder about the future of our Welfare State system. Will our social rights be preserved in the future?

What about our growing elderly population: will they be treated with care and dignity?

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