After the adoption of the so-called Six-Pack of EU laws on economic governance in 2011, European Union (EU) interventions retrenched social welfare and collective labour rights in almost all EU Member States. This chapter therefore aims to contribute to a better understanding of the EU’s economic governance regime and the conceptual, methodological and political questions that it is raising.
Analytical concepts should always be ‘elaborated in close connection with some set of substantive problems’. The substantive problem that we address in our ongoing five-year-long research programme (www.erc-europeanunions.eu) is the following: what are the points of intervention or ‘levers’ by which the EU’s new economic governance (NEG) system may be changed by social actors?
In order to be able to answer this question, we use a conceptual framework that is able to distinguish between horizontal and vertical modes of European integration.