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EU equality law after a decade of austerity: on the social pillar and its transformative potential

EU equality law after a decade of austerity: on the social pillar and its transformative potential
EU equality law after a decade of austerity: on the social pillar and its transformative potential
This article discusses the evolution of EU legislation and policymaking methods during the ten years since the onset of the financial and economic crisis in 2007/2008. In the EU, this period has been characterized by politics of stimulus, austerity and recovery. Against the backdrop of longerterm developments in the equality law field, we consider how this crisis context influenced this field’s evolution. Through analysis of a range of legislative and policy proposals, we show that the progressive softening or hybridization of equality law over this period has gone hand in hand with the stronger articulation of equality objectives in terms of a ‘business case’. While this approach appears to have enabled proliferation of policy and legal instruments and expanded the reach of equality law into areas where the EU has limited competence to legislate, it has also elevated instrumental economic goals for action at expense of human rights or social rationales. This longer-term tendency is also present in the recently adopted European Pillar of Social Rights, and the accompanying policy documentation, which have been hailed as carrying potential to infuse more coherence and to rebalance the social and economic rationales that the EU integration project has unevenly promoted over the years. Mindful that it is still too early for conclusive judgments, we suggest, however, that the transformative possibilities the Pillar carries are likely to be undermined by its soft and economically oriented thrust.
EU equality law, coherence, Social Pillar, soft law, hybrid regulation, marketization, human rights
1358-2291
163-192
Benedi Lahuerta, Sara
657ceee7-1cbf-42b5-bd45-e3c12d66e465
Zbyszewska, Ania
28b68bf0-bc59-42d5-bcb0-c79d4400a649
Benedi Lahuerta, Sara
657ceee7-1cbf-42b5-bd45-e3c12d66e465
Zbyszewska, Ania
28b68bf0-bc59-42d5-bcb0-c79d4400a649

Benedi Lahuerta, Sara and Zbyszewska, Ania (2018) EU equality law after a decade of austerity: on the social pillar and its transformative potential. International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, 18 (2-3), 163-192. (doi:10.1177/1358229118799234).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article discusses the evolution of EU legislation and policymaking methods during the ten years since the onset of the financial and economic crisis in 2007/2008. In the EU, this period has been characterized by politics of stimulus, austerity and recovery. Against the backdrop of longerterm developments in the equality law field, we consider how this crisis context influenced this field’s evolution. Through analysis of a range of legislative and policy proposals, we show that the progressive softening or hybridization of equality law over this period has gone hand in hand with the stronger articulation of equality objectives in terms of a ‘business case’. While this approach appears to have enabled proliferation of policy and legal instruments and expanded the reach of equality law into areas where the EU has limited competence to legislate, it has also elevated instrumental economic goals for action at expense of human rights or social rationales. This longer-term tendency is also present in the recently adopted European Pillar of Social Rights, and the accompanying policy documentation, which have been hailed as carrying potential to infuse more coherence and to rebalance the social and economic rationales that the EU integration project has unevenly promoted over the years. Mindful that it is still too early for conclusive judgments, we suggest, however, that the transformative possibilities the Pillar carries are likely to be undermined by its soft and economically oriented thrust.

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SBL & AZ EU Equality Law after a Decade of Austerity. On the Social Pillar and its Transformative Potential - Accepted Manuscript
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Submitted date: May 2018
Accepted/In Press date: 19 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 October 2018
Published date: 2018
Keywords: EU equality law, coherence, Social Pillar, soft law, hybrid regulation, marketization, human rights

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421296
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421296
ISSN: 1358-2291
PURE UUID: a4760132-9f04-4ebe-a7ed-2a82d1e822e5
ORCID for Sara Benedi Lahuerta: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2769-372X

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Date deposited: 31 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:36

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Author: Ania Zbyszewska

University divisions

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