Anna Elomäki Barbara Gaweda


The European Semester, the foundation of postcrisis economic governance in the European Union (EU), has become the locus of struggle between the economic and social goals of the EU. The persistent hierarchy of social and economic goals and subsuming of social policies to market-making logic have been at the centre of scholarly and political discussions about the Semester since its inception. This article examines how the European Parliament (EP), the EU’s representative institution, engages with the social/economic relationship within the technocratic and expert-led Semester and what political and ideological alternatives the EP proposes. We ask where and what are the key conflicts within the EP regarding the social dimension of economic governance and how they affect policy outcomes. By discursively exploring the EP reports on the European Semester for the 2014-19 term and analysing the conflicts between political groups and between the EP committees, the article argues that the EP takes an ambiguous and contradictory position on the relationship between economic and social governance and does not provide a real alternative to the status quo.


Article Keywords

European Semester, European Parliament, economic governance, democracy, social policy

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