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Gracjan Cimek

Union or as parts the latter's republics. Sometimes, the concept is limited to countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union ( Orzelska 2013 ). On a conceptual note, I am drawing on the perspective of the

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Convergence in Social Welfare Systems

From Evidence to Explanations

Denis Bouget

After the Second World War, the view that people of every nation would be entitled to experience rising standards of living pervaded all corners of the globe. Convergence was seen as a positive way of achieving a Golden Age and a peaceful and affluent utopia, through modernisation and technical progress. Within this general belief, the development of national social welfare systems in Europe in the postwar period appears to be the outcome of autonomous national processes. The construction of Europe, which imposed common rules in many areas, was nonetheless consistent with the national development of social welfare systems within each national culture. The idea of a common system of social protection has always been linked to European political and economic construction, which was expected to create a more cohesive society. Reference is made constantly to convergence as a catching-up process in the comparative evaluation of national social policies, but the implementation of an ambitious European system of social protection and the creation of harmonised national welfare systems have always proved to be impossible. The paper focuses on two specific topics. Firstly, it examines attempts to quantify convergence among EU and OECD countries at the macro-economic level, using social indicators to assess the convergence or divergence of social expenditure. The evidence of convergence is shown to be ambiguous due to a number of methodological problems. Secondly, two main interpretations of convergence are examined: economic forces and legal frameworks. The paper shows that the analysis of national trajectories of social expenditure and the link with economic development can enrich the analysis of convergence or divergence in social protection. Even if the maturation or reform of national social policies explains the origins of increases in social expenditure, macro-economic pressures, or constraints (globalisation, Single Market), on public expenditure can fuel certain type of convergence. In all the developed countries, social welfare systems are based on national legal frameworks. A goal of social Europe is not only to work towards European solidarity but also to build common social rights throughout Europe. Convergence of national social welfare systems can, therefore, be interpreted as a component in a general process of convergence in law within the developed countries, especially within Europe. However, common explanations of convergence in social welfare systems often neglect elements of divergence. They, therefore, conceal the complexity of the process and very often underestimate the full extent of divergence.

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Managing a Multiplicity of Interests

The Case of Irregular Migration from Libya

Melissa Phillips

-accelerated entry into the European Union. Since the 2011 revolution, Libya has been grappling with serious governance, economic, and security matters. Throughout this period there has been no reduction in irregular arrivals by sea, a marked increase in the number

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Softening culture, opening Europe

The European Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue

Jeff Katcherian

This article examines the development of cultural policy recommendations, in the form of “soft law,” by the Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, a nascent European civil society collaboration aiming to make culture a separate political endeavor within the context of European integration. Drawing on fieldwork among European bureaucrats and members of European civil society in Brussels, Belgium, the article offers an alternative discussion from common understandings of soft law, paying close attention to law as an aesthetic form that challenges dominant modes of policy-making. An investigation of soft forms of law provides a useful perspective to those who attempt to define, locate, and create European identity.

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Relations with Europe

Beyond the Vincolo Esterno

Erik Jones

The relationship between Italy and Europe has changed since the 1980s. Where Europe used to provide a constructive external constraint (or vincolo esterno) on domestic Italian politics, now European constraints are less constructive and more problematic. At the same time, Italy has a more important role to play in contributing to European debates. The government headed by Matteo Renzi demonstrated both sides of this change in 2016. Renzi argued that European policies regarding macro-economic policy coordination, financial stability, and international migration did not help Italy. He also insisted that Italian proposals in these policy areas warranted closer European attention. Renzi was not successful in redefining Italy’s role in Europe, but he did win recognition for his efforts. The question is whether the government headed by Paolo Gentiloni will keep pushing in the same direction.

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A cosmopolitan Europe?

On "unity in diversity" and the politics of Turkey's EU accession

Katharina Bodirsky

Cosmopolitan visions hold EU-Europe capable of recognizing diversity within limits set by universal principles. This view has gained currency in EU self-representations and among the liberal left as a counter to founding EU-Europe on civilizational unity. Proponents of a cosmopolitan Europe nevertheless partake in a culturalization of politics that enables and obscures processes of state transformation visible in Turkey's EU accession process. Debates on Turkey's EU membership construct a normative representation of EU-Europe that justifies EU accession measures as "normalization." Supporters of a cosmopolitan EU contribute to this political effect by adhering to a liberal distinction between "mere difference" to be tolerated and "disruptive difference" to be contained, which legitimizes an interventionist stance vis-à-vis Turkey. However, changes in state interventions and institutions supported by this normalizing project go beyond installing "unity in diversity" in cultural-political terms. They involve economic de- and reregulation that might entrench social and territorial inequalities.

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Speed and Smoothness

Identity Production and Reproduction of Portuguese MEPs

Andre Novoa

This article examines identity production and reproduction of a group of Portuguese members of the European Parliament (MEPs) through a set of ethnographic vignettes. Literature on European mobility has been underpinned by an assumption that the more we move, the more European we become. But who are these movers exactly? And how do they become European? These questions guide this article, which presents a case study of three Portuguese MEPs who maintain strong relations with their country of origin whilst having to create new attachments to Brussels and Strasbourg. The MEPs have to insert themselves into a culture of speed and smoothness. They have to redesign themselves as figures of speed. The article argues that this process makes them European. They identify with Europe because they maintain a strong relation with their country of origin, which means moving more, which in turn means being a modern European citizen.

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Peter R.A. Oeij, Steven Dhondt, and Noortje M. Wiezer

The European situation of new forms of work organisation and stress risks in jobs are described against the 'decentralisation-human factor orientation model', which discerns types of work organisation. 'Flexible firms' based on lean production have the highest probability of high strain jobs, predicting negative health effects. Among European employees, those working in high strain work organisations report the highest number of complaints with musculoskeletal problems, allergies and asthma and stress-related problems. Although new forms of work organisation are limited in occurrence, most of them tend towards lean production, indicating growing stress risks for employees. The authors suggest to reduce stress risks in jobs by redesigning those organisational conditions labelled as sources for these risks into work situations with a better balance in job demands and job control.

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Luke B. Wood

political structure shapes policy outputs across fields as diverse as the management of military and security policy, domestic institutional reform, environmental policy, economic policy and, importantly, German negotiations with the European Union. 1

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Thomas Klikauer, Norman Simms, Helge F. Jani, Bob Beatty, and Nicholas Lokker

Antisemitism 1, no. 2 (2018): 63–71. Simon Bulmer and William E. Paterson , Germany and the European Union: Europe's Reluctant Hegemon? (London: Red Globe Press, 2019). The analysis of Germany's position in the European Union is inextricably