The Renaissance of National Corporatism : Unintended Side-Effect of European Economic and Monetary Union or Calculated Response to the Absence of European Social Policy?

Friday, 3 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW2.1.02 (Tower Two)
Philippe Schmitter, European University Institute, Fiesole, Italy
The "death certificate" issued to macro-corporatist concertation in Europe in the 1980s seems to have been premature - just as the "(re)-birth certificate" given it in the mid-1970s proved short-lived. At the very moment that academics first started using the concept to analyse trends in advanced capitalist societies, the practice had already peaked and it continued to decline thereafter. Then, just as many observers had announced its extinction, corporatism has risen again and now seems to be carrying its twin burdens of interest associability and policy-making to new heights during the 1990s.

The primary "growth potential" for contemporary macro-corporatists at the national level lies in the feverish efforts of their governments and associations to adapt to EU directives, product and professional standards, verdicts of the ECJ and the convergence criteria for EMU. Trade unions may not be as directly involved in this process as they were in the past, but they have a great deal at stake. Given the failure of the EU to agree upon any significant elements of social citizenship to compensate for the impact of its extensive economic and monetary freedoms, organised workers in several member countries seem to have opted for a greater reliance on national institutions of tripartite negotiation and macro-economic pacting. European norms and competitive pressures had a strong indirect impact on the resurgence of this phenomenon which, in turn, will have many implications for the future of the European Union.