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Social Europe


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master EUS


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 aims of the course are to define the challenges currently facing “Social Europe” and to see whether these challenges are best met at a European or national level. Many of the challenges are directly related to the process of European economic integration in general (i.e. the problem of social dumping) or specific policy areas (i.e. enlargement and the monetary union). Others are simply common to all member states and are increasingly addressed by European-level policies (i.e. the problems of high unemployment, poverty, and population ageing). The course assesses these challenges by drawing on concepts from various disciplines, including political economy, law and history. In doing so it explores whether the two major projects of the postwar period, building a Social Europe and an internal market, can be reconciled.

Course description

The purpose of this course is to define the scope and limitations of EU social policy. The course investigates the relationship between economic integration and developments in the field of both EU and national social legislation. It examines why the European Community incorporated social policy cooperation in its objectives and traces the development of EU social policy.

The first part of the courses discusses the main instruments of social policy development. The most important of these are the social dialogue, the open method of coordination, the European Court of Justice and the contents of the Treaty on the European Union. The main purpose of this part is to discuss the competences and limitations of these instruments.

The second part of the course discusses recent challenges in the field of EU social policy. This part among others looks at the impact of economic and monetary union, the most recent enlargements and the completion of the internal market on national and EU social policies. It investigates the role of the EU in addressing these challenges and external challenges like the ageing of the European population



Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Essay and presentation.


Yes, see the site.

Reading list

To be announced.


Via uSis
See also: registration and admission requirements for the Master EUS

Contact information

Dr. D.M. Oude Nijhuis.