The Heart of European Integration: the Socio-economic Model between Convergence and National Diversities

  • Mario Telò


There are two main reasons why we are devoting a chapter to the ‘European socio-economic model’. Firstly, Europe cannot develop its civilian power into a classic military one because it consists of Welfare States that spend about twice what the US does on social security (29.9 per cent of GDP in 2001 compared to 14.2 per cent). This structural level of welfare spending prohibits the type of military expenditure feasible in the US (4 per cent of GDP compared with 2 per cent of European states1). Secondly, this topic is not only extremely relevant to the internal cohesion and quality of democracy within the EU, but is also central to the distinctive identity of the EU within the context of globalization. The EU presents an interesting case study of the tension between, on the one hand, the drive to speed up neoliberal deregulation and, on the other, the attempt to relaunch old and new forms of way of life and common belonging. These are linked to specific interests and social demands, all intent on introducing some kind of regional ‘re-regulation’. Drawing on our 1999 article, Jürgen Habermas synthesized three dimensions of this key question: the deep historical roots of welfare Europe, its ‘constitutional’ dimension and its potential impact on EU identity within the context of globalization.


Trade Union European Council Social Dialogue Lisbon Strategy European Research Area 
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Copyright information

© Mario Telò 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mario Telò
    • 1
  1. 1.Brussels Free University, ULBBelgium

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