Features of the Transformation of the Social Policy of the European Union
The article considers the evolution of the social policy of the European Union, its current features and the directions for further development of integration in this sphere. This study analyzes the social policy of the EU using the concept of multi-level governance, which was developed within the framework of the neoliberal school of thought. The aim of this study is to determine the transformation features of common EU social policy in the context of significant socio-economic changes that characterize the member states of the association nowadays. With this aim, the article assesses the concept of multi-level governance as a tool for analyzing EU social policy, tracks the evolution of integration in this sphere and identifies modern features of its financing. The scientific significance of the research lies in the analysis of EU social policy both in retrospect and in the context of present changes, as well as in determining the potential trajectory of further transformations in social policy. The authors note that EU social policy is characterized by active interaction between actors located at diff erent territorial levels, which explains the productivity of the concept of multi-level governance for analysis in this sphere. Social policy has historically been a secondary track in the course of European integration, which can be explained by significant diff erences in national socio-economic models — for instance, manifested in the financing of social policy, makes it impossible to implement "hard" supranational management in the social sphere and necessitates using "soft" multi-level cooperation, for example, the open coordination method. At present, the coordination of social policy in the EU begins to cover new areas; this process is accompanied by a gradual harmonization of member states' economic development levels and is associated with the need to respond to modern internal and external challenges, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors conclude that, in the future, the importance of supranational initiatives in the field of social policy will increase.
European Union; social policy; multilevel governance; employment; COVID-19 pandemic
Nikita Gushchin, Irina Kiseleva, Anastasia Posazhennikova