Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

Paolo Graziano — The Politics of the EU Eco-Social Policies

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

12:00pm – 1:00pm

Leung Conference Room, Stephen Robert '62 Hall, 280 Brook Street

Over the past years, the debate over the analytical and normative need to address ecological and social concerns has grown substantially. From an analytical perspective, phenomena such as the Gilets Jaunes in France or the ecological vs. social disputes in industrial sites (such as, for example, the ILVA steel plant in Taranto) have constituted a trade-off in terms of potentially conflicting policies, making the understanding of the various underlying preferences very important. From a normative perspective, growing environmental concerns have challenged more traditional views anchored on the predominance of social and employment concerns. The paper intends to contribute to the above-mentioned debate from both an analytical and a normative perspective and it addresses the following questions: did the European Union take an ‘eco-social’ path? If so, how and why? And what are the main dilemmas the European Union is currently facing in addressing its ‘eco-social’ concerns? The article illustrates the growing intertwining of social and environmental policies at the EU level and then tries to explain its genesis by focusing on the role of the various actors involved. The main argument is that the European Commission, and in particular the President of the Commission, developed an eco-social agenda in order to obtain further institutional and socio-political legitimation.

Paolo Graziano is Professor of Political Science at the University of Padua, Research Associate at the European Social Observatory, Brussels and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Surrey. He has been Chercheur associé at Sciences Po, Paris (October 2019 - September 2022). He held visiting positions at a number of universities, including Cornell University, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Sciences Po Paris, Université Paris II Panthéon Assas, University of Melbourne, Université Libre de Bruxelles, University of Washington, European University Institute, University of Roskilde, University of Amsterdam, University of California Berkeley. He teaches Political Science, Political Communication and Public Management and Multilevel Governance. He has published five authored volumes and several edited volumes and journal special issues. His work on Europeanization, comparative welfare state policies, populism and political consumerism has appeared in journals such as: Journal of European Public Policy, European Journal for Political Research, Government & Opposition, Governance, Journal of Common Market Studies, West European Politics, International Political Science Review, Journal of European Social Policy, Journal of Social Policy, European Societies, European Political Science, Social Policy and Administration, Comparative European Politics, Journal of Consumer Culture, Cities, Politique européenne, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica (Italian Political Science Review), International Journal of Social Welfare, Mediterranean Politics, Sustainability.