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Governing Work and Welfare in the European Union



The European Union is founded on the belief that sustainable economic growth can advance alongside – and even demands – high levels of social rights, protection and cohesion. The course investigates whether this belief is correct and how “Social Europe” can survive under the twin challenges of globalization and European economic and political integration.

The main aims of the course are to define the challenges currently facing Social Europe and to see whether they can best be dealt with at a European or national level. Many of these challenges are directly related to the process of European economic integration in general (i.e. the problem of social dumping) or specific EU policy areas (i.e. enlargement and the Economic and Monetary Union). Others are simply common to all member states and are increasingly addressed by European-level policies (i.e. the challenges of globalization, unemployment, poverty, and population ageing).

Course objectives

The first part of this course introduces these challenges, explains how they affect different European welfare regimes, and discusses the main instruments used to deal with them at a European level. The most important of these instruments are the open method of coordination, the European social dialogue, and the European Court of Justice. A major purpose of this part of the course is to discuss the competences and limitations of these instruments. The second part of the course provides students with the opportunity to discuss any topic of their choosing in a more in-depth manner.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

All participants will be expected to

  • 1) take active part in class discussions;

  • 2) prepare a presentation and lead a session on a topic agreed in advance with the instructor; and

  • 3) write a research paper on this topic.

Reading list

The compulsory literature for weekly readings will be made available during the course.


Via uSis

Contact information

Dhr. Dr. D.M. Oude Nijhuis