This chapter describes how the social rights which, according to the treaties, EU citizens possess, find expression in a Union which is suffering not just from an economic crisis, but from a crisis of confidence as well. The author argues that the confidence crisis itself puts limits on the prospects for realizing these rights, and undermines the solidarity between member states articulated in the Union’s basic treaties. The analysis in the chapter makes clear that the member states have taken a cautious line on the question of European social rights. Furthermore, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has found this to be a tricky and difficult area, and has hesitated to enter it. It is therefore crucial, the author contends, that the member states themselves take the next step. Within a framework of mutual cooperation, they must actively interpret and utilize the basic rules which have a bearing on social rights.
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