Colgate University Libraries


Stephen West


The European Union is a fascinating organization that continues to evolve and deepen integration between its member states. Starting with the Common Market, the E.U. has blurred the lines between state and supranational sovereignty so much that soon it will be difficult to determine when legislation originates in particular countries or throughout the continent. One of these issues is social welfare policy. This paper delves into the intricacies and problems of individual welfare systems and evaluates the possibility of having a E.U. Common Social Policy. While it is possible for the E.U. to develop procedures and standards for these systems, I argue that it is difficult to create a cohesive system because of a lack of norm convergence at a European-wide level. People simply trust their own nations to provide for them, and until a common European identity can coalesce, social policy will remain a national priority. I enjoyed writing this paper because of the deeper issues regarding social policy; people are so dependent on the welfare state not because of demographic strains or low funding, but rather because social policy is intrinsic to one's own national identity.