Global Comparative Essay Example

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The European Union is a dynamic merger that is made of 15 states around Europe. The union is governed by a transparent legislation that guides the decision making process. Member states see to it that the European Union involves certified lobbyists, who facilitate an open decision making process. Lobbyists are involved in the implementation of policies due the complexity nature of the process. The European Union, in its institutions, has published community laws that govern member states and offer equal opportunities for their citizens. In its policies the EU gives social activities such as; agriculture, external relations between member states and healthy internal and external market competitions first hand support. The Directorates General has encouraged the implementation of these policies, so as to strengthen the relationships among member states. This reports evaluates the steps taken by the European Union and member states in coming up with strong social policies that shape Europe.

KEYWORDS: lobbyists, European Union, Member states, Social Policies.


The European Union (EU) was initially formed as an economic community for six member states in the North West part of Europe. Countries from this part of Europe would trade their goods and services freely within the borders of the neighboring six nations. However since it was first formed in 1957, EU has grown and is now made up of 27 member states. The EU has played a significant role in breaking the barrier faced by majority of the population as a result of poverty. As a result the Union has established several policies that evaluate the key issues that give rise to social challenges (Bartle, 2005). The Council of Ministers, which heads the policy maker’s body within the EU, has pushed for the formation of independent bodies which oversee the success of its objectives. According to Alber (2006), bodies such as the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the European Employment Strategy, work independently to come up with solutions for social problems. For instance the EU has identified ageing population, low fertility rates and insufficient labor market participation as the main components of social challenges faced by the European Union. Hence the Economic and Monetary Union monitors the fiscal policy in order to offer alternative solutions to citizens during an economic recession. Consequently, the European Employment Strategy is geared to support legislations that are in line with the EU’s social policies. The body mainly focuses on developing a welfare reform program that works as a platform for exchange of ideas in social inclusion, healthcare, and support for the elderly and pensions (European commission, 2013).

Regardless of its role in Europe, the European Union does to function as a financial support system for pensions, healthcare, education, housing, children’s welfare or social care. However it has distinctive roles in promoting equal rights and opportunities in social amenities. In social policy, the European Union’s main role is fighting discrimination of any manner within the work place. The union has implemented laws that are against ageism, racism or gender based segregation in the work environment (European Commission, 2013). Additionally the Union funds higher learning programs, is actively involved in the promotion of single and open markets as well as free movement of labour. The body has also worked in protecting refugees, workers and their families from external economic pressure. In creating and shaping the social policy among member states, the European Union has participated in implementing regulations that govern activities across the borders. These regulations are made up of policies formed by the European Commission (European Commission, 2013).


Promotion of a common and diverse European Social model

Member states of the European Union have formed common social policies that seek to address the numerous challenges faced by these nations. The formation of universal social policies is motivated by the need to tackle problems arising from; climate change, ageism in society, technology revolution and globalization. These modern challenges have resulted to a number of issues faced by Member state thus coming up with a common solution for diverse issues. The European Union concludes that these challenges can easily be met due to the shared social believes by member state. The values include equality, social dialogue and solidarity in promoting the wellbeing of Europe’s citizens and leading by example (European Commission, 2007). Thus the European Union has made use of the shared principles; equality, solidarity and subsidiary as a way to integrate its members and promote social inclusion. According to the UNDP (2007) report, Europe has registered low levels of income inequality as compared to other nations in different part of the world. This trend has attracted more nations to be part of the European Union while upholding the same values in equality. Moreover, member states of the European Union continue to promote equality among its citizens with countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Germany having the lowest cases of inequality when it comes to income generation among their people. Whereas countries such as Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Italy register high numbers of income inequality among its citizens (Walby, 2009).

Solidarity on the other hand solely focuses on the internal policies of European states and how they affect member states of the European Union. According to Wilson (2000), the laws governing this value are eventually narrowed down to meet the different state social policies. Member states as advised by the European Commission are urged to maintain and promote solidarity in their nations by supporting social security systems and redistribution. In addition to this, member states are required to take part in financing them through contributions gathered from social insurance and funds from high taxes. In the creation and implementation of social policies, the EU has encouraged that member states have societies within their nations that are socially organized. This according to the European Commission is termed as subsidiarity. This value promotes dignity and respect for the life of any individual regardless of their economic, racial or religious background. Therefore this principle inhibits any member state from segregating communities or a person from others in maintaining a well balanced and stable social condition as the person develops fully. Thus for an appropriate social condition to exist, members of the society, families and the international body, are required to act in service of the well being of others (Walby et al, 2012).

Poverty Eradication and Social Exclusion ideologies

The EU through various strategies has committed itself in fighting poverty since its formation. According to Copeland & Daly (2012), the European has been quiet ambitious in its efforts to eradicate poverty among its member states and Europe in General. For instance in the year 2000, in its bid to fight poverty the EU, made use of the Lisbon Strategy as a strategic move to push for social inclusion. In its attempt to format social inclusion as an exemplary goal, the European Commission included the Open Method of Coordination as a way to govern the policy. This will assist the Union in its plight to focus on economic growth whilst creating more jobs for the youths by the year 2005. Notably, Copeland & Daly (2012), termed the goals of the EU as explicit and ambiguous as it had a target of rescuing about 20 million people from poverty and social exclusion by the year 2020.

The 2020 poverty eradication goal has been used by the European as a time line monitoring the progress of each member state in achieving this goal. As the EU works towards an estimated 17% decrease in poverty prevalence nations across Europe, member states are required to form policies that are aligned towards reaching this goal in time. Therefore members are allowed to employ any tactics needed in eradicating poverty in their nations so long as they are able to compliment the European Union’s overall target goal. To combat social exclusion and poverty, member states formulate policies that are gathered from philosophies welfare and views. However the extent and type of challenges facing member states in terms of reaching the set target varies depending on the nature or level of poverty in their nations. Thus ideologies and policies will be incoherent but are geared towards the same target (Espind-Anderson, 1990).

According to de Graaf-Zijl & Nolan (2011), the relationship between income and standards of living notably in countries with poor standards of living, is important in determining proper measures to adopt in combating social exclusion. For instance the level of education of people in a given country, will determine which policies the Union will formulate and implement that will meet the needs of that country as well as reach for the ultimate 2020 goal.

Monitoring and Documenting the Progress of Gender Equality

The European Commission compiles annual report that evaluates the trend of gender equality among member states. In the report the EU analyses the challenges encountered in this field while coming up with sustainable future alternatives to approach them. However the challenges faced will depend on several social or economic factors that may negatively or positively affect citizens. For example the 2009 report was compiled at a season when most European nations were dealing with enormous economic crises. Such an occurrence means that the implementation of other social policies may be overlooked or postponed (European Commission, 1994). The European Commission will however evaluate the rights of both genders in understanding the effects the economy has had on them and their social developments. The EU spearheads the importance of preconditioned growth, equal employment opportunities and social cohesion as part of investing in equality among men and women. Therefore in formulating social policies that include gender based equality The EU plays a significant role in studying factors that will determine what policies should be implemented (European Commission, 1994).

On the other hand the Union works through the treaties formed to challenge any form of workplace discrimination. The 1957 treaty for instance continue to be expanded in order to promote social policies that fight for equal job opportunities in; hiring, working environments and promotion. Several EU activists used this treaty to condemn any form of workplace discrimination, thus spearheading the expansion of this treaty as well as implementation of equality based policies (Hoskyns 1996; Buch, 2007).

Advocating for proper childcare services

Several European countries continue to take part in coming up with a dynamic and favorable childcare services in terms of healthcare facilities and education participation. The Barcelona Summit in 2002 marked one of the most recent ideological targets set in protecting and formulating childcare policies. In the summit participants were able to settle with explicit targets that acted in place of the provision of childcare services. In their report the European Council concluded that member states should be ready to offer complete employment opportunities for their citizens. Moreover member states were called upon to get rid of any form of deterrence that comes in between the full participation of female counterparts in the labor market (European Commission Children Network, 1988). The summit concluded by advocating for member states to aim at providing quality childcare services to approximately 90% of the children population between at the age of 3 years. However many nations around Europe are still struggling to reach the Barcelona target. A Child development initiative such as reduction of poverty has developed into another childcare policy thus complicating the provision of quality childcare services. However the European Union has contributed in identifying countries that are faced with financial challenges and misplaced ideologies. Thereafter, the European Union advices them on an applicable financial structure and the implementation of several policies in order to overcome these challenges (Walby, 2004).

The Union acts as an independent advisory body for its member states

The European Union offers legislative advice to its members. The member states are guided on how to about trade activities with other countries, issuing of migration policies or sanctions. According to Ferrara & Sacchi (2005), the establishment of the European Union has brought together different nations within the European Border, therefore encouraging intermediate relationships between member states. Citizens from member states through the help of an established sense of freedom are able to freely trade, interact and work in neighboring nations without any fears.

The European Union acts as one head of all member states thus taking part in the establishment of rules and regulations that govern the interactions of citizens from member states. The Union influences what kind of policies to be pushed through in regards to trade activities. The migration within the EU has boosted the economic growth and labour force among member states. Such development changes influences the decision making process as conducted by the European Commission in social policy making (Cantillon, 2011).

Open Method of Coordination

This method of communication in the European Union is termed as the ‘the methodical backbone of the Lisbon strategy’ (Ferrara & Sacchi, 2011). The European Union has over the years employed the use of this structural mode of communication so as to modernize European nations. The EU has narrowed its efforts to modernize the employment sector, educational and social policies through the Open Method of Coordination so as to develop a competitive and dynamic economy. The OMC, provides a procedure that member states in the EU are able to have a mutual understanding on common economic and social goals. The European commission has employed the use of this method in different ways and fields in support of social policy making. OMC has been used in all European Union member states in different fields including; economic policy making, healthcare, pension, education, migration, social inclusion and employment. The EU coordinates with member states in formulating appropriate competence and strategic moves in decision making (Brull et al., 2012).


The European Union has been a transitional body involved in decision making and policy formulation. The Body has actively participated in shaping the European market as well as its social equality regimes. As an institution characterized by jurisdiction approach in the decision making process, the European Union has increased the base for equality in policy making around Europe and internationally. The role played by the Union is evident considering the impact is has on the member states in decision making and framing the paradigm around Europe (Risse, 2000). The Union operates under a strict legal and social binding legislation that guide it in decision making and issuing directives to member states. The implementation of any social policy requires consent and should meet the approval of members with the European Union. This has ensured that the Union acts fairly and administers equal policies to all states in the union. The role played in making and shaping social policies by the European Union cannot be ignored as the Union has a rather huge impact in social and economic activities influencing countries around Europe (Bradshaw et al, 1996).


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