Europeanisation, Mesogovernments and 'Safety Nets'

Septiembre 2003
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP) CSIC, Working Paper 2003-12

Luis Moreno

The process of Europeanisation implies a confluence of resources and outputs. This is mainly due to both structural constraints (e.g. economic harmonisation) and institutional inputs (e.g. sentences by European Court of Justice). In this article a reflection is made on two processes: (a) the adjustment of national systems of social protection to operate on a European framework; and (b) the decentralisation of ‘safety net’ policies at meso-level in order to favour territorial subsidiarity and democratic accountability. In the first section a review of concepts and premises is carried out prior to a general reflection on the so-called ‘European social model’. Mesogovernments and the increasing role of EU’s regions focus the interest of our third section. Decentralisation and a greater regional say in areas of policy-making closer to citizens’ perceptions, such as the weaving of ‘safety nets’, have often been linked to cultural or identity considerations. But demands are also grounded on claims for policy innovation and a more effective management. A brief examination of the case of Spain’s devolution of welfare powers to the regions illustrates such claims. It is concluded that in order to build up a macro community of trusts in the ‘Old Continent’ more attention is to be paid on the increasing role of medium-size layers of government.