Social Human Rights as a Legal Strategy to Enhance EU Citizenship

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This chapter takes an interest in arrangements made to secure the enforcement of social rights within the areas of health care, education, housing and social assistance and it develops into an analysis of the arguments pro-contra the enforceability of social human rights as a legal strategy to enhance EU citizenship. While it is a barrier to the fulfilment of a well-functioning EU citizenship not to fully recognize that Europe is a region of welfare states where it is a characteristic of citizenship that the inhabitants, based on a combination of solidarity and reciprocity, are provided with some level of social protection, the lack of common ground, even at a very basic level, has proven to be a challenge to the freedom of movement and thus to the citizenship project as such. One way forward could be to embrace the normative framework already in existence through the European Social Charter (Council of Europe) and propose, in the spirit of the Turin process, that we work towards a stronger legal recognition of this human rights based platform within the European Union framework. Such a proposal, a proposed legal strategy to enhance EU citizenship, is situated in the midst of two major and topical debates: is legal rights enforcement a path towards increased social justice (social sustainability)? And to what extent are social citizens' rights and social human rights concurring or conflicting norms? In this chapter we will explore the notions of redress mechanisms, EU citizenship, legal strategies and social rights with the overarching ambition to undertake further legal analysis in the area and make an informed contribution to the dispute.

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In this contribution we aim to prove that a more complete and cohesive Social Security System Coordination policy in the European Union is possible. For that, we propose the application of legal techniques already existing and available to the European Union and those proposed by the legal scholarship for the same purpose. Firstly, we will analyse what we call soft harmonisation measures, consisting on the Open Method of Coordination, enhanced cooperation, administrative cooperation and the ambivalent social dialogue. Secondly, we will examine hard harmonisation measures such as the harmonisation of the Internal Market clauses, the harmonisation of social policies as a mean to enhance the European Citizenship, and, finally, we will have a closer look at the approaches that propose the constitutionalisation of social rights. Altogether, they conform explored and, some to-be explored, policy building techniques in the social policy area and other policy areas of the European Union that could potentially provide the Union legislature new ways to improve the Social Security System-Coordination Policy and thus, the European Social Model. by making it more complete, manageable, transparent, and cohesive regarding the whole European Union Law and Policy.
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