'Converging Europe' evaluates the impact of European integration on social policy development since the launch and re-launch of the Lisbon strategy discussing the challenges posed by the still unfolding global economic crisis of 2007-2009. Given the unsettling economic conditions, does European coordination of social policies generate more social cohesion and integration or growing xenophobia, nationalism and exclusion? Informed by diverse theoretical perspectives, this book brings together a team of international experts working on an extensive range of policy issues central to the Lisbon agenda such as labour market policies, social protection systems, and social exclusion/poverty. Contributions assess the interfaces between European integration, the Lisbon strategy and social policy in three groups of countries related to the EU: old member states; the new member states; and a candidate country - Turkey. The richness of content and data allows rigorous analysis and critical comparative insights not only on the social outcomes of the Lisbon strategy but also more broadly on the dynamics and dimensions of European social policy. Pioneering the scholarly reflections on the repercussions of the global economic crisis of 2007-2009 for both the road map drawn at Lisbon and viability of national systems of social provision in Europe, this book is an important acquisition for policy makers and academics alike.
'An outstandingly detailed, nuanced and insightful analysis of EU social and economic development strategy, the policies underpinning it, and their complex outcomes. This is an indispensible volume for students and researchers of European social policy and the wider European integration process, especially in the context of the ongoing global crisis.' Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS, University of London, UK 'The book offers a fresh look at EU social policy adopting an extended spatial dimension (old and new member states, but also Turkey) with a broad definition of social policies. It will appeal to practitioners and also to academics interested in seeking new perspectives on the subject.' Philippe Pochet, ETUI and Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium 'Organized into five parts and eleven chapters, the book is rich in content... The book also does and excellent job of highlighting the complex, multilevel nature of social policy development and convergence by focusing not just on domestic and European influences but global ones as well... This volume is likely to be of interest to policy makers as well as scholars of the welfare state and the EU. It directly speaks to the implications of the Lisbon Strategy and some of the tensions between EU integration and enlargement. Another one of the books major strengths is that it extends early welfare-state models to post-communist states. Its focus on gender also offers a corrective to early welfare state literature that has largely neglected this axis of inequality. Finally the book is extremely timely, as its focuses on the financial crisis is yet another contribution to the literature... there is much to learn from this volume. And, this volume is sure to spur future research in multiple literatures, given the importance of the questions it raises and its breadth of coverage.' Insight Turkey 'The breadth and scope of the volume make it a valuable reference resource for anyone interested in European Social Policy and the