Cowen, M.P. and Shenton, R.W. (1999) Community in Europe: A Historical Lexicon. IHS Political Science Series 59, January 1999. [Working Paper]
One of the main causes of flagging support for the EU has been the persistence of high levels of unemployment in virtually all member states of the Union. Our paper shows that in combating unemployment, present policy as set out in EU documents is forced to steer a course between ‘competitiveness’ of markets and what is variously referred to as ‘social protection’, ‘social balance’ or ‘social responsibility’. The difficult question which then arises is how an injunction for individual responsibility can be enforced through rules and regulations which run against the principle of freedom to which responsibility is attached. When freedom is associated with social custom or convention, and that it is customary for individuals to have a state-provided social benefit, a ‘community’ of social responsibility and the like becomes so problematic. The task is finding the means of persuasion that makes the loss of local custom and individual dependence appear as a socially responsible but private gain of livelihood.
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