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.