Reactions to the global economic crisis raise fundamental questions for the study of European socio-economic governance. At the national level, the unprecedented efforts by European governments to restore stability to financial markets and counter deteriorating growth conditions provides a unique insight into how different models of capitalism adjust to change in an era of economic and financial globalisation. At the European level, the financial and real effects of the crisis provide the sternest test yet of Economic and Monetary Union and the EU’s fledgling system of socio-economic governance.
The aim of this workshop is to take stock of European responses to the global crisis, bringing together scholars of European socio-economic governance from a variety of disciplinary perspectives to challenge existing theoretical approaches in the light of fresh empirical evidence. An innovative feature of the workshop lies in its attempt to bring together two different strands of research literature which have co-existed largely separately from each other in the past. The first strand is associated with the so-called “varieties of capitalism”. It has emphasised the importance of institutional complementarities and systems coordination for the performance of capitalist economies. This literature provides profound insights into comparative political-economy but has paid limited attention to policy coordination between distinct models of capitalism and the evolution of EU economic governance. The second strand of the literature focuses on EU socio-economic governance which has emerged in the context of EMU and the launch of the open method of coordination – drawing attention to the process and practice of policy coordination. While it had led to insights into new modes of governance and soft coordination mechanisms, this literature has explored policy-making in a non-crisis environment and paid less attention to substantial questions over policy choice against the background of diverging national models of capitalism.